Exams ended on Friday, so this college town cleared out. For those of us with international flights booked back in September, however, before abstract dates became the reality of “oh, I guess this means I’m here alone for the weekend,” it was threatening to get kind of lonely. So I invited myself to spend the night at the home of one of my housemates in Lexington, Virginia. The drive meanders through mountains and farmlands and is gorgeous in an achingly homey, Americana kind of way (maybe just achingly because that was something I never experienced while I was off growing up in the sprawling, polluted, developing mess that is Addis Ababa, Ethiopia?) (p.s. I love Addis, I really do. It’s just not pretty). And this weekend, the fields and farmland running alongside the highway were scattered with snow, making them scraggly white and beautiful.
I drove this route in winter once before, and it just makes me think of this one Christmas book that we have, The Year of the Perfect Christmas Tree by Gloria Houston. My mom loves this book because it reminds her of where we lived when I was born: Pilot Mountain, North Carolina. (It’s the boonies, let me tell you.) I don’t remember much of Pilot Mountain, but I know the book, and to me it means home and Christmas. And let me just say its illustrations are this drive I took today.
I leave for Kenya tomorrow, and the day after I get back is our Mother-Daughter Christmas Cookie Exchange, a tradition that has come with us from Pennsylvania to Ethiopia to Kenya. This book will be read aloud there. And just like that, once more, and rather unexpectedly, America and Kenya meld.
Welcome to my life.
(image source: http://www.amazon.com/Year-Perfect-Christmas-Tree-Appalachian/dp/080370299X)