The Death of Life

There was a drought at Carvins Cove, Roanoke, Virginia in 2002. I asked my mom and grandmother, who are from this community, if anything like this had ever happened before. Neither of them could recall. My grandmother is in her 70s so at least in that span of time, the answer was no. Although I was very young, I remember all the brown and dry cracked dirt, I felt like I was standing on a mountain.

Photo cred: Western VA water

I remember it not being as peaceful and the feeling of excitement and joy I had always felt going there being absent. As a child I could see the difference in the adults’ behavior but of course had no idea what it all meant. Just that not only was it different for me but my family as well. Everyone behaved differently because we all have a relationship with this space in different ways and I guess that is why it is burned into my remembrance. That was the one time I remember we didn’t stay. I didn’t get to play and run around. We didn’t have a picnic or cook out and enjoy ourselves. That was our routine and this time none of that happened. In all the times I have been since then and see the water lapping at the edge of the shoreline and the boats backing in at the dock, I have a flash of what it looked like to see the dock standing alone with no water around it and being able to walk a block or more to the water’s edge. It was a sobering sight. That event has really given me an appreciation and thankfulness as to how it looks today.

Photo red western VA water

The beauty I see now and take in to my spirit. The blessing that has always been there really resonates with me now. Most people don’t realize the beauty in simple things, like the water tickling your toes you hang the off the dock in the water.The whole world was that little corner to me, memories whizzed by through the car window, as if they only wanted to be seen for a moment. Now as I travel through the community my ancestors have lived in my whole life, past my great-grandparents home and along the winding road that takes me there and I see the clearing come into view I realize the gift. I try to take it all in since I live away and am not able to go there on multiple occasions in the summer like I did when I spent time with my grandparents in Virginia. It is true to say Virginia is for lovers, it is for lovers of the world and its great spaces, for reconnecting with who you are, realizing your mortality, and accepting it. The moments are few but the impact is greater as I enjoy my pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. One of the jewels of a small community that was once called Hollins, Virginia.

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