The first night I’m  camping, tornado warnings on the weather
channel, too-tall skinny pine trees reaching for the flashing black

clouds, trying to fight the rain and sirens in the wind away. Rain,
wetness, lightning, craving comfort from the ceiling of trees,

electricity longing to reach through the piece of tarp and some
nylon fabric that formed my arid bubble. Camping lesson one:

nature is fickle, so welcome hotels. Day break, sun glow, we spin
through the Blue Ridge tunnels, eyes on the refreshing greens

atypical for the Midwest. Indiana drapes in shades of beige, even
the freshest corn stalks spout a browned string of silk, reaching
into it’s core to find the seed, a hopeful array of gold. The North
Carolina sun grasps hot, pulling us into the barriers of atmosphere.

The car winds to the tip of the peaks, they point to the yellow orb,
then nothing is the same. There are no iron obstructions here, nothing

that screams rust belt. There’s a moment when you are tiny doesn’t
really breathe reality. I am made of calcite dripping on the floor of

the world’s largest cave. As the car retreats to the harmless valley,
white walls of the mountain sparkle as they weep for me. They say

I’m sorry, because they know humans always have to go back
to the lime tree where it all began, carved our names in the shadowy

bark, we never want to admit it. Now that the mountain and I have
cleansed our hands in twisting rivers, we see the veins of this country

flowing through us. But the salt waters remind us we have sentiment,
so I  sway eastward, hoping the sun can lift me from any sticky waves.


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