Although I was born and raised “up the holler*” I was told once that I will never truly be a West Virginian. This honorable status cannot be bestowed until your parents, and their parents are both buried in the hills somewhere.
We had our little spot on top of a hill, shaded by the lush green wooded acres surrounding the house I spent most of my childhood helping my dad build, help being the operative word. I played in the dirt, ran around without shoes, and fell asleep half way up a ladder.
We lived off the grid, powered by solar and generator, spring water, an outhouse, and a massive garden. Living was the adventure, my brothers and I built rock and tree forts in the woods, climbed the rocks (known to the outdoor community as bouldering), ate most of our meals right out of the garden, and made our way around in the evenings by candlelight. **
I must admit I wasn’t the easiest on either of my parents, stubborn and picky. Nor did I truly appreciate my upbringing until the last few years. Those adventures have made me strong and fairly confident that I can survive just about any environment.
I went back last week and sat out on the porch, listening to the whippoorwills, the owls, the hummingbirds, the wind breaking through the trees, the peace.
It will always be my home.
*: noun. Version of the word “hollow” in the southern dialect. A term meaning a small vee-shaped riverine type of valley
**there is now city electricity…and indoor plumbing.