The Land that Raised Me

The Blue Ridge mountains. Dudley mountain. Slate hill. Hickory Hill. Charlottesville. Scottsville. My generations have a long history here.

The Rivanna River, a mineral smell of mud and dirt and roots, a cool breeze. Sparkles on the water, sparkles on the rocks. Sitting on the roots of a Sycamore tree.

Chris Green, Lake Reynovia. Sand and sun, gentle waves lapping my feet. Swim to the dock, dive back in and swim to the buoy rope, half walk, half swim back to the shore. Picnics. Fruit flavored soda. Teenage summer love, half naked in bathing suits, we meet.

Boxwood, fragrant on a warm summer day, making a circle with room in the middle. Childhood games with cousins playing “house” inside. Daffodils and rose bushes all over my Nanny’s yard.

Linden Trees, Basswood Trees, Monkey cigars. Paw Paw Trees in the back yard, soft fruit like a mix of banana and peach.

Grass full of dandelion, violet, plantain, self heal, butter cups, dead nettle, and more. Dandelion crowns and necklaces, wishes carried on seeds. Shooting plantain heads, as laughter soars.

Grandaddy Longlegs, they don’t bite, chasing my sister as she screamed in fright.

Red dirt plowed in neat rows, green beans, cabbages, squash, cucumbers, and corn . A ripe red tomato from Grandaddy’s garden every evening before going home.

Dogwood blossoms all over town in spring, red berries in fall, bird food in winter.

Red Maple, fire hued leaf carpets. Mighty Oaks and thousands of acorns, shading the playground at McIntire Park.

Ancient arrowheads in the red dirt in our backyard, at the house where I could see across a field to the banks of the Rivanna River, where the Monacan tribes once lived… long before my generations.

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