I think we all have a beautiful place in our mind. I have a wonderful place that made me happy a lot of times, years ago. But sometimes I think that I am the only person who likes this place and I’m asking myself if this place will be as beautiful as I thought when I will go back to visit it again. Perhaps I made it beautiful in my mind.
This place is meaningful to me because it is part of the county I loved, is part of the county where I grew up and is part of my childhood. This place is in the country in an old region named Appalachia, a small piece of the Appalachian Mountains, in a town named Pikeville.
Pikeville is a polluted town because of the coal industry. People live in apartment or condominium buildings because of its little space available. I grew up in one of the many buildings in Pikeville admiring from my bedroom window the beauty of the mountains, always exploring with my eyes the forest or the meadows, looking for a clean and quiet place. And, I found one on a hill in the back of the town. It is about 100 feet square, it has seven old trees, wild flowers and a lot of bugs and ants during summer time.
I used to go there to sit down on a rock and watch the town and my trees. There was a very old tree, a maple tree, with a huge trunk. The others were smaller, three in the back, three on my left side and the old maple tree on my right. There were flowers, many kinds, white, yellow, purple and blue. It was nobody’s place. Nobody owned that hill, but it was beautiful and peaceful and I dreamed many times about a white house over there.
I think that, these kinds of places are meaningful to people because they are natural and people can be there alone, away from their everyday life.
I used to go there to be alone or to dream with my eyes open admiring the blue sky or the clouds. I liked to go there to lay down on the grass, listen to the wind, kiss the flowers and watch the leaves moving. It was hard to go up the hill to get there, but I wanted to see everyday my seven trees, to see how the color of the leaves changed and to feel the softness of the grass.
I used to go there with a reason or with no reason at all. I knew that I had to be there to forget who I am, to breath and re-feed myself with hope. That was the only place I could go to dance, or sing, or cry. That place was part of me. The wind was part of my breath, the leaves were part of my song, the flowers were part of my purity and the trees were my friends that I used to hug every time when I got there.
I used to go there even in winter to play with clean snow. In my native town, even after a fresh snow, we got a gray-black layer of soot over the snow. All the town was covered with dirty snow.
During winter time my place was still beautiful. My trees had branches full of white, heavy snow. The flowers, the birds, the grass were gone, also the rock I used to sit on was hard to be found, but it was still peaceful, quiet and especially clean. The snow angels I made kept watch over this natural splendor.
This place is far, far-away in time and space, part of my childhood and my adolescence. It means a lot to me because it is beautiful and natural, is a clean and quiet place in a world of noise and dirty air. This place is maybe beautiful just in my mind, but it is one of the few friends I had, back in Romania. I really hope that the new construction will spare this place and others like it, for these are the places that can bring us happiness.
The most inimitable place to be, besides in my husband’s arms, is Harrogate, Tennessee. The rolling hills, clean crisp air, and spaciousness all surpass the city life. The memories and joy I experience when I am there will always have a special place in my heart.
My house resided in the country. A cow field was my backyard, and I would play hide and seek with my friends behind the hay bales. From the moment we got home and put our Bratz Doll backpacks down until the moment the pinkish, yellow sun was setting, my friends and I were always in a new adventure. At times, the golden rays would shine and radiate without a cloud in the sky. The gentle breeze was just enough to make it comfortable. The grass had already dried from the early morning dew, making it look freshly cut and greener than ever. As we would run around making up games to play, my black and white English Springer Spaniel, otherwise known as Bubba, would follow us eagerly with his wet teeming tongue hanging out of his parched mouth and his tail wagging like a hammer in an ongoing alarm clock. In Knoxville, the population and space is far too crowded to enjoy pleasures like those in Harrogate. In a way, it is suffocating here, and I miss the feeling of peace and contentment when at home.
During winter season, it would snow fervently. My yard also consisted of a rather giant slope. Due to many hills and back roads that would get black ice very easily, school was called off frequently. My friends and I would get so excited and call each other to make plans to go sledding! I would jump in my thick, white leggings and blue nylon pants along with three pairs of socks and waterproof shoes. On top I would have two under shirts, two regular shirts, a small jacket, a large heavy jacket and a toboggan on. Layered and ready for the cold, I would run outside and find my aqua green plastic sled from underneath the back porch. It was crisp and cold outside, and the snow was a clean white ready to be destroyed by the power of my sled. Hours later our paths would be perfectly carved in the snow, and we would be ready to go in and change to dry clothes, watch a movie, and drink a cup of hot chocolate. Snow doesn’t fall in the city, and even if it did, there is no room to go sledding. These memories will not be forgotten.
When summertime came around again, the park was a popular place to be. I always made new friends, and there was always so much to do with these new acquaintances. Activities consisted of playing basketball at the court, playing in the sand, riding bikes, and rollerblading on the trail, playing on the jungle gym and tire swing, swinging, and so much more! Once my mom and I had our picture taken on the swings and put in the Knoxville News Sentinel. Sometimes the church congregation would have a picnic for everyone there, and we would grill and enjoy each other’s company. Even family reunions have been held there. The people in Harrogate are country people, down to earth, and content with the simple life. They are not concerned with the greatest and latest of things. This made the events at the park so much more enjoyable.
If I could, I would go back and relive some of these memories. No matter where I go, Harrogate will be home in my heart. No matter my age, Harrogate holds some of the most memorable and cherishing parts of my life.