Spring in Appalachia.

Randy parks the boat next to the bus and we both rock our way into summer. Fred and I ride bikes up and down the sternum of the hollar, watching Mother Nature’s chest rise and fall with each breath around us. It’s festival season and the music in town is better than our pale legs and sunburnt cheeks deserve. I go dancing. I go dancing eight days a week. The crescendo grows as I pull the van up the backside of Beech Mountain. Boone in Blossom pearls into view, stage lights reminding the flowers how to make color. All my friends are hanging on a bald at the top of the mountain. Tennessee & Virginia rise from the landscape like an orchestra in the soft light, resounding beauty despite the pit. Carolina beneath our feet...I don’t know a soul who wouldn’t find this a good enough reason for living. Even the bugs start coupling up. There’s this feeling in the breeze, almost something familiar. A golden summer is approaching. Performances press positive prayers in the ground around us, and with trust, shakes love into the bits of us we’d forgotten. Oh holy night sky, you’ve spilled the glitter tube again. The windows let with hard clacks back, opening the bus to unexpected guests. Wasps protect the ceiling, stink bugs walk the pallet wood paneling, pem naps in the middle of the floor blending under sunlight into the carpet. Ailments multiply; poison ivy, splinters, unidentified spider bite. The butterflies return forming a cohort of cuteness. This is the season for losing things. Or rather, for things leaving us...the same way bare arms unbend out of car windows in the summer...further away, beyond our reach. Beyond control. The list for Saint Anything gets as long as my curls. I feel the kudzu closing in around me. I am not immune to the feeling of things missing. What draws us to keep looking for things we think we need? The chance at seeing all the pieces, jagged edges kissing sweetly into each inch of the picture...The feeling of the whole world at once. Something familiar walks into my picture. I am conscious of how loud my heart beats, afraid ofI am conscious of how loud my heart beats, afraid of how much I missed the sound of my own music. Is it possible to lose the same thing more than once? Can anything ever be truly lost when it’s held in a memory..

Katherine Dolan