Getting acquainted with the Roan

There is a trick for time travel if you’ve taken spring for granted: climb higher. As I drove out of the Piedmont and into the Blue Ridge, I watched it all happen in reverse– the dogwood and redbud blooms closed up. Leaves curled back into leaflets and then compressed into fat buds. I travelled nearly all the way back to grey winter nakedness. Up in Roan Valley, the forsythia was just beginning to show off. Snow lingered in shaded patches on the steep slope. I thought perhaps I’d travelled back too far.

Atop the Roan, the wind will give you an earache. I was glad to see my first raven since moving east, but she was eerily silent. I wished for her to say just one thing to me.

Facing west on Jane Bald

I was waiting for an omen to welcome me to my new home, because yes, we are moving again. This time for the last time in a long while. We keep saying that.

My relief came at Engine Gap, beside a snowmelt rivulet eroding the trail. My childhood favorite: the bluet. I would have thought it impossible– too cold, too exposed. Such exhilarating joy to be so wildly surprised. And such comfort.

Houstonia caerulea

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