Friday, July 30, 2021

The Mountains Called

The mountains called and we answered. Many people go to the beach for their summer vacations. That’s just fine, but my husband and I prefer the mountains. The idea of spending the bulk of our precious summer months in hot, humid Eastern Virginia gives us a severe case of the heebie-jeebies. The good news is that we can travel a mere three hours to reach the Blue Ridge with its lower humidity and cooler temperatures and still be in Virginia. There we can sleep with the windows open, dine al fresco, and hike without breaking a sweat. 

Our favorite get-away spot is Wintergreen Resort where

we rent a condo with a breathtaking view that includes

an abundance of stunning flowers and butterflies. We have access to tennis (golf, too, but we don’t play), and great hiking trails. We even hiked the Appalachian Trail this time...for about 100 yards. Whew! 

There are many good restaurants, wineries, and cideries in the area, too. You might even catch a glimpse of a black bear. 

The best part of our annual get-away is the Wintergreen Summer Music Festival, Erin Freeman, Artistic Director. After having to cancel last year’s event, Erin (no relation) outdid herself this year! We attended two of many concert offerings held in the Dunlop Pavilion, and both were stellar. From Bach to Brahms and Mendelssohn to a commissioned work for virtual chorus and live orchestra, every musical moment was mesmerizing. 

I know! This blog sounds like a copy ad for Wintergreen Resort, but trust me when I say, "Don’t go to Wintergreen Resort in the summer."

We prefer having it all to ourselves.


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Saturday, July 10, 2021



I tend to be a creature of isolation. It’s not that I don’t enjoy being with people, especially close friends and family members. It’s just that I feel comfortable with my alone time. Time alone allows me to ponder the universe, both macro and micro, both temporal and spiritual; and it allows me to express that pondering through my writing. So, last year, when social distancing became necessary, it didn’t feel like a sacrifice to me. Rather, it seemed like a gift. I could still take my walks and enjoy the beauty of nature; and with so much writing and editing to accomplish, I never grew bored. 

Last week, for the first time in eighteen months, I met three friends inside a restaurant, none of us wearing masks. At first, it felt strange and uncomfortable. Typically, we would have hugged. Later, I realized the idea of hugging never occurred to me.   

Our initial conversation was strained, yet we were the same four women who had so much in common, so many shared experiences, so much history together...before COVID. The server brought menus, and we buried our heads, hiding in the decision of what to order. With that task accomplished, we looked at each other, heaved a collective sigh, and shared a laugh at our awkwardness. Finally, with the proverbial ice broken, the conversation entered familiar, but long-neglected territory. We ended up talking and laughing until the servers began setting up for dinner.  

I left the restaurant feeling refreshed and exhilarated by the human contact that can never be replaced by Zoom meetings, phone calls, Facebook, emails, or text messages. Yes, I value and protect my alone time, but the pandemic has shown me how much I need human contact, with or without hugs.

I would love to hear your post-pandemic stories. Please respond and share how reentry has felt to you. Have you had to make adjustments that surprised you or did you jump right into life as usual? How about your children? What effects from isolation have you observed in them?

Speaking of responses, I received feedback from another writer friend about how to dispel a creative crisis. Lynn says he goes to a public setting and observes people. Then he makes up stories about them in his head. Often, a character will emerge that inspires a new novel. Thanks for the tip, Lynn! Fortunately, we can frequent public settings again. 

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