If you ever get the chance to travel Interstate 77 from North Carolina up through Virginia, then into West Virginia ... do it. It has to be one of the most scenic interstate routes in the country. I've driven it this year, about a dozen times. (Or close to it.)
In the winter, the water is frozen that seeps out of the huge mountainsides in West Virginia. Like a waterfall suspended in time, its beauty is only enhanced when the sun hits it. The trees, though barren, appear asleep waiting for some mysterious kiss from spring to awaken them. Pop in an Enya or a Christmas CD, and it's a virtual Imax theater during that drive, you can be sure.
I spoke in Charleston this morning ... to the Vandalia Rotary. A smaller group, about 20 or 30 Rotarians gathered at 7:30 in the morning. Unfortunately, I was in severe pain during the entire speech. I had twisted wrong in the shower (I know, comical ... laugh) and something popped or slipped in my back. The pain shot through my hip and down my leg ... Michael literally had to dress me. Thank God, I was able to do my hair and makeup after a mouthful of Ibuprofen.
So, I limped in. Put a smile on my face and did my best. Which certainly wasn't my best, but the show must go on ... as they say. But I sold 18 books. So possibly, nobody noticed.
My wonderful cousins, Mick and Donna, were my guests this morning and it upset me that it wasn't my peak performance for their sakes ... but hey, family love covers a multitude of pain sometimes. And it was so great to see them again.
We drove home like wounded soldiers. Michael was running a fever. He's been coughing non-stop, it seems, since last week. A cold that won't stop. My back was only mildly better, but I propped myself up in the car with pillows and more Ibuprofen. Pay attention writers ... it's the price you pay when you take your book on the road. Your body wears out before your book does, usually.
I'm ready to stay home for a while. I think there are no long trips scheduled until January. That's a good thing ... but I enjoyed the trip home, despite the pain. The mountains and scenery are something to behold. I never tire of it. It must be something in my blood. I love the area between the two tunnels, an area called Bland, VA. Which is anything but. It's like a slice of heaven.
Although my favorite part in that trip home, is riding down the mountain near Fancy Gap and looking off to the left and seeing North Carolina from a distance. On cold, sunny days in winter, the air is crystal clear and you can see majestic Pilot Mountain. It's my favorite mountain. It tells me, I'm home. It's my "Cold Mountain."
Blessings to you and yours.