As much as I enjoyed reading a lighthearted novel set in modern day South Carolina, I found myself nose deep in another book the very next day, this time a dense and intricate civil war scarred love story set in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Western North Carolina.

I’ve read this book once before (and tried my best to make it through the film version but one thing I’m not good at is sitting through movies that heavily feature bloodshed). I remember loving the complexity of the language that dressed a rather simple tale, and how captivated I was by the landscape and culture of the region. I knew it was the American south, but its exact location had faded from my mind.

Even when I first arrived in Asheville, I did not immediately make the connection. It wasn’t until a few weeks before we departed for our return to San Diego that I realized the place folks would reference as a great spot for hiking was, in fact, the very same Cold Mountain after which this book is titled.

Southern Appalachia isn’t a place one simply visits. It is a place that is as much a part of one’s being as any other vital organ, and eventually there comes a point when the magnetic pull of those ancient inclines becomes too strong to ignore, leaving no option other than to heed the call and head for the hills.

We speak often of returning, though it is no more than a distant dream. For better or worse, we have tethered ourselves to our fair seaside city and have committed to making big things happen here for our little family. But one day? I would not at all be surprised to find us sitting on the porch of a mountaintop homestead.

In the meantime, I’ll delight in knowing that as much as I’d like to fancy myself an Ada, deep down, I’ve always been a Ruby.

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