This post is a difficult one for me to write because it’s one that has been a long time coming. And forewarning, it’s going to be long. And rambling. So, I won’t take it personal if you decide to stop reading right here.
For a long time, I tried to deny my roots. I grew up in a small town in eastern North Carolina, and to be 100% honest, I had no idea about the real world until my freshman year in college. There weren’t great places to shop or eat. There wasn’t a lot to do on the weekends. I spent a lot of time on my grandparents’ farms growing up. My mom and dad both were children of farmers, and the first vehicle I learned to drive was a John Deere tractor.
And the day I left for college, I was the first in my dorm, and didn’t shed a tear when my parents left. Don’t get me wrong. I adore my parents and had a great childhood because of them. But I couldn’t wait to get out of my hometown. My parents still talk about how they knew I’d never come back there when they dropped me off at college and saw how excited I was to be in a bigger town. But every time I left college, I took the back roads instead of the highway. I have always had an appreciation for the farm scenery and it just seemed to calm me.
My parents don’t travel, and frankly, never have. So I’ve spent the past 10 years (time out:how has it been 10 years since I graduated from high school?) exploring and growing. But recently, my heart has been pulling me back to eastern North Carolina. And, frankly, I’m shocked. But I had a great childhood, and just really love the history and the farming communities. Unfortunately, Eastern North Carolina is literally drying up. They are closing schools. They can’t attract businesses. They can’t attract highly qualified teachers to the area. There is nothing there. My parents came up for our wedding on a Wednesday and when they returned Sunday, the only grocery store in a 30 minute area was closed. That was over a year ago.
I’ve posted stories here before about a sweet little story from a run right before our wedding. I’ve posted about Watson Brown’s Photography. I posted about my overnight trip with my buddy KP. And I kept hoping that my feelings would fade. But they’re stronger than ever these days. I know that it seems silly, but I have some plans. I can’t really reveal too much more, but my wheels have been seriously turning since August. Any positive thoughts, vibes, prayers, etc. you can throw my way would be great.
I’m going to finish with just a few more of my favorite Watson Brown images.