I'm grateful for the state of Virginia. I moved there in 2006 for school and lived there for only two years, but I loved it more than I ever thought I would and definitely more than I'd be able to express in one measly blog entry.
I moved there at a critical point in my emotional life. I needed a break from what had been and moving across the country seemed like the right medicine. I've said it before and I'll say it again, moving is never a bad idea. The people I met there changed my life dramatically and still influence me to this day, despite having not seen a single one of them since I moved back to California to be married. The people and the places. Oh, the places! Little did I know how green the world could be. Summer was deep green, Autumn was yellow and orange and red, Winter was icy white, and Spring was redbuds. I went for walks and hikes every day. I took my camera every where I went. Friends came and went from my house. I fed them, stayed up late with them, watched movies with them, laughed with them, chased them, and cried with them. Wait. Chased them? Yep, chased them. I sorted out the mess that was my life while I was in Virginia. I became at ease with myself and confident in my convictions and my loves. I knew who I was. Virginia changed me into me.
How perfect that Birch should meet me not the countless times we've figured we could have met each other, but while I was living in Virginia. The land of my internal peace. Birch and I lived in Santa Cruz at the same time, he worked with a friend of mine for years before meeting me, I used to work about fifteen blocks from his family home, and we grew up only twenty minutes from each other. We met when I was living three thousand miles away and was the happiest I'd ever been up to that point.
I not only love the people that surrounded me during that time. I have a deep and abiding respect for them. They are themselves without apology and full of love and generosity of spirit that I have striven to emulate. I keep in contact with some of them and wonder what has become of the rest, but with all I smile whenever I think of them.
Birch and I have given serious thought to moving back there if, when it comes down to it, we cannot afford land here in California. What an absolutely beautiful place it is. The rolling hills of the Shenandoah Valley, the crisp in winter and warm in summer rivers that swerve through pastures and cut through rock. And the trees! Oh, the trees that are constantly changing on you. So much so that you can never quite decide when they are at their loveliest. I miss the seasons there. The real, true seasons with rain, humidity, deep cold, snow, icy roads, autumn splendor everywhere!
I love who I was there. I must admit that I change according to environment and I was a slightly different me than the me I am now. I was courageous and bold... independent. Someday I will find my way back to that place within myself, but for now I must refer to it as: Virginia.