August 2018; it was a week or two before the Fall Semester was going to begin. My family took the closing opportunity to venture away from my rural nesting grounds of Colfax, North Carolina, for a more mountainous scene; Burnsville, North Carolina.
Burnsville is a small but tight-knit town nestled in the Appalachian Mountains. My mom has ties to the town, which stem back generations. My sister and I grew up among the giant towers of green, soaking in the fresh air and sunlight like one of the local plants. What struck me the most upon my arrival last Summer was how different the air felt from my normal stomping grounds around the Greensboro area. The air buzzed with the richness of oxygen. It felt cleaner; felt because I believe you can experience air beyond smell.
During my family’s return to Burnsville, we decided to brave the frigid waters of the Toe River. Although it was summer, the water felt like January. My sister and I could only submerge once or twice, while our dad channeled the likeness of a breaching whale and frolicked magestically throughout the icy waters.
While it took me around two hours to regain normal body temperature, I felt closer to nature than I had all summer, and it was a wonderful treat to return to my old stomping grounds with my family and remember what has always sparked my love for the mountains.