off the Appalachian trail

I was cruising on my bike through Windsor Farms today. It's a posh neighborhood in Richmond's westend where the houses are big and beautiful, the yards are kept up by hired hands I'm sure, and all children go to St. Catherine's, or St. Christopher's (cause being educated along middle or lower class kids is to much of a reality for these folks). OK, so I would like to own a house here, but my kids would go to public school. On my bike tour past the beautiful AgeCroft (yes, some aristocratic cook had the house torn apart and shipped over here from England). The house is amazing and has a prescious spot in Richmond, it rests on a small hill and looks out to a small mountain which has not been tainted with developments. It's serene, and reminds me of my hometown and of my last home, C-ville. Growing up among moutains, I hated them. My hometown is in a valley and therefore surrounded on all sides as if the hills protect and keep the people below. And, in many ways they did, my hometown is a sheltered place. Though quaint at times, it could possibly be the redneck version of "A City Upon (surrounded by) A Hill (hills)." But, we all know what happens to Utopia, oh yeah, it doesn't exist. So, for most of my life I have cursed the moutains and hills, especially when trying to learn how to drive a stick shift (I actaully gave up trying for a good year). I didn't start to accept and reclaim them until this past summer in Montana. I traveled to Montana for a friends wedding and when I stepped off the plane and found myself surrounded by mountains I thought I was back in my hometown except there are no semi-tall buildings and I don't think they know what urban sprawl is. Throughout the weekend I kept thinking, "What is so great about these moutains?" OK, so they are huge and the ranges are much bigger than Virginia's and they are bit more pristine, but really, no Virginian would be that amazed as I wasn't. Then when drving back to C-ville from the airport in DC and going up and down the rolling hills, I thought "These are my hills, Montana has nothing on these." I think I began to love my state then. I'm proud to be a Virginian which is saying something, considering I have always wished to be an North Carolinian. Richmond has no hills or mountains to look at, we're too far east. I actually miss them. Some days as I'm driving to work I feel like I don't have everything that I need for the day, I check everything, my watch, my purse, my coffee and I and can't find the missing piece, but maybe it's the moutains, the Blue Ridge, that I'm missing, without really knowing it.

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