(Sometimes it’s tough to feel at home in your own city. Which is why I’ve given myself a challenge: each day, for forty days, I’m going to find *one* thing I love about this place. And then I’m going to tell you about it. If you want to follow my journey, start here. Today is Day Twelve.)
I almost missed my Gratitude Moment today.
All week long we’d talked about driving up to the Blue Ridge Parkway on Saturday — taking in the leaves like tourists do.
But there were errands to run. Dinner to cook. A new rhododendron to plant. And then there was the weather: the day dawned drizzly and cool. By six o’clock the pale sun looked windblown, passing in and out of scudding stormclouds.
But at the last second, in the middle of our shopping trips, we swung the wheel of the XTerra onto the entrance ramp, and suddenly we were swallowed up in gold. After about a mile, the tunnel of leaves opened up into wide mountain vistas, with split-rail fences lining the road.
On a whim, I cracked the window, and fierce cold wind spilled into the car.
Emboldened, I opened it the rest of the way. Thrust my head out like dogs do, and gasped.
It was cold. SO COLD. The wind curled back my eyelashes, and I could feel my cheeks go red. The car surged forward, under a stone bridge and out again, and a sudden whoop of laughter spilled out of me.
Once I started laughing, I couldn’t stop.
Hours later, I can still feel the echo of the sound inside my chest.