Home is Where the Heart is

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Quiet waters of the Whtie Oak

Quiet waters of the White Oak

Life is full of twists and turns if you live it to the fullest.  I certainly have to plead guilty to following my dreams and living by the maxim that when given a choice you always choose the course that will be the most memorable.  That likely explains why I care little for television.

Creating new memories led me to Nova Scotia after college and then to the rugged and wild hills north of Fredericton, New Brunswick.  I was in love with both places at one time or the other during my life.  I still have vivid memories of our wonderful life and the amazing friends that we made in Canada.

After Canada we moved to Columbia, Maryland, a beautiful planned community halfway between Washington and Baltimore.  Columbia and Howard County never captured our hearts.  We were only there for a couple of years before our family voted to move to the side of a mountain overlooking Roanoke, Virginia.  There was a lot for the heart to love in Roanoke. Many Saturday mornings we enjoyed Roanoke’s wonderful farmer’s market.

We were lucky to live where I could make a network of trails on the mountain.  My special friend and Labrador retriever, Chester, and I spent hours carving trails out of the woods.  Walking the woods high above Roanoke became a twice a day event for us.    We got to watch many Appalachian springs and falls roll through the valley.  Even on the warmest days we found plenty of cool shade and an ever changing cast of plants and creatures along our trails.

For years I regularly put our two person kayak on the roof of our famed Little Limo and headed off to enjoy the waters of Carvin’s Cove.  Eventually finding time to get on Interstate 81 and drive to Carvin’s Cove got to be too much of a challenge. Perhaps no longer kayaking in what is still a beautiful mountain lake was just a symptom of many changes in our life.

My job at Apple fell victim to some corporate politics.  Both my mother and my faithful friend, Chester, passed on within months of each other.  A developer instead of Roanoke County bought the cherished piece of mountainside where we had happily hiked for years.

At the same time my heart had found another home in Carteret County, North Carolina.  There were several reasons why Carteret County met my needs, but most of all it was because of the water that is everywhere.  It also felt like home.

In the fall of 2006 we bought a second home near Swansboro, NC.  Eventually we came to the conclusion that we had to choose the mountains or the beach.

It was a tough decision for my wife, but it was an easy one for me because my heart had already moved to the quiet waters along North Carolina’s Crystal Coast.  In August 2010 we put our Roanoke County home on the market.  We are fortunate that it only took us two years to sell our home and bid adieu to Roanoke.

As I was making one of our last drives from Roanoke to the Crystal Coast, I got some some confirmation that home had become Carteret County.  The drive from Roanoke to Carteret County is a substantial six hour ride, and as with any long drive you get pretty worn out.  Five and one half hours into the drive I was nearly exhausted from the move, the stress, and the drive.  Yet when I reached those tall pines of the Croatan National Forest, the stress started melting away.  I felt like I was home.

That evening when I stood on our dock and the next morning when I went for a walk along the water, I knew that we had made the right decision.  People and places change.  What was right for us in Roanoke in 1989 had come and gone.

Our life is now at the coast, and I’m very happy I can still see the magic in a place.  I’m going to enjoy those things that make the Crystal Coast special to us for as long as I can.

To me living in a place where life has no walls is a wonderful privilege.  That we have already made some great friends and found a wonderful church home makes it even more special.

It is time for the next chapter in our lives, but we will keep the memories especially of that last Roanoke Christmas tree in the winter of 2011-12.

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