Saturday, March 13, 2010

We Are Here

I don't ever get tired of being right where I am because it's exactly where I want to be.

It's always this time of year that I remember that unbelievable day eleven years ago when Randy got the call, the job offer, the dream fulfilled. Ten years—ten years!—we'd been working toward that moment. Finishing college, master's degree, PhD, two kids and eight years in exile in the midwest, and at last, at last we were heading back to Tennessee. To the mountains and far, far away from the endless rows of corn and soybeans. Pigs and silos and big, big tractors.

A lot has changed since I wrote this poem over a decade ago as part of my master's thesis. We lived in Iowa then and would drive the 17 hours to Tennessee once or twice each year. We were always reaching across the miles, missing the mountains like a vital organ. A deep breath. Someday really did come true, except we live at the foot of the Smoky Mountains and we don't really have a front porch. But the big thing—the breathing—just gets deeper every year.

Seventeen Hours, Give or Take (Driving South)

We count on someday,
coffee on the front porch,
Buffalo Mountain still

in its own black shadow.
We live now
for the next vacation
and the next, driving southeast
and then south and east,
these strange selves

as the farms turn to forests,
corn to tobacco.
Two hours to go
and we are easy again
as if some lethal spell
has been lifted. We unzip

our stiff suits
at the state line
and toss them out the window.
Our skin beneath is warm

and smells greenly of wood.
We can't stop breathing.
(By Sarah Small. Published in Breathing the Same Air, copyright 2001)

Nope. I don't ever get tired of being right where I am.

1 comment:

  1. i've heard that the smokies are beautiful, but i've never been there. that may change very soon, as we are thinking about taking a rare "big" vacation this year and great smoky mountains n.p. is one of the top possibilities. (shenandoah/d.c. is the other. and actually, we are thinking about doing this in MAY, so we'd better make a decision & get researching & planning, ya think?) my oldest has been there several times and says it is better than acadia (maine). that means it MUST be gorgeous!

    (oh, and if you have any advice or recommendations, do share! :-)


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