An Open Road & a City of Stars: Day Fourteen

(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 Fourteen.)

Honest words?  The end of daylight savings time is hard for me.

Every year when the daylight wanes and the shadows lengthen, my heart feels it like a stab of grief.  Which sounds silly, but we feel what we feel.

So on Sunday, I decided to hang on to whatever daylight each day holds, however brief it might be.

On a kick of spontaneity at about 2:30 that afternoon, I shook Thomas awake from his nap on the couch.

“Let’s go see the Peaks of Otter,” I said.  “Let’s go right now.”

And that’s what we did.


We drove out to Bedford on the Blue Ridge Parkway — farther than we had the day before.  The car climbed up and up until the trees thinned and the blue hills loomed and my city was just a tiny cluster of silver rootops far below.

We stopped at almost every overlook — gulped cool blue air.  Posed for silly pictures.  Within an hour we’d pulled up at the Peaks of Otter Lodge, where Sharp Top stands tall over a curve of quiet lake.


It’s the kind of place people come a long way to visit, but not too long.  A good place for a small wedding, a reunion, a lover’s tryst — all shimmering shoreline and picturesque amber light.


So we did what lovers do.  We walked around the shoreline snapping pictures of each other, in the amber light.  We had dinner at the lodge, at a table overlooking the water.  We asked the waiter to take a photo:


When we were finished, we let the car fly back down the hills, the moon flashing in the moonroof.  The valley below was a black bowl of twinkling lights, indiscernible from the black bowl of starlit sky but for the last band of sunset at the horizon.

I looked left.  Far, far below I saw the Star City winking and glittering up at me like a gathering of constellations.  A galaxy.  And right at the center of glow was the larger, whiter glow of the Roanoke Star on top of Mill Mountain — the same one I can see from my bedroom window at night.

That’s my city, I thought to myself.  That’s Home.

My heart is just beginning to believe that those words could be true.


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