It’s amazing what a few days away can do to revive and rejuvenate. This past weekend I somehow managed to flee the blizzard of New York and landed in Charlotte, North Carolina, where a friend and I rented a car to drive to the granola and “my-other-car-is-a-bike” Mecca known as Asheville. I fell in love. Bluegrass, veggie restaurants, hippies, head shops, more hippies, and a store with eco-friendly bedding. What’s not to love? We stayed with some friends of mine and they welcomed us with open arms, red wine, warm muffins in the morning, and lively debates about tempeh and Obama. They also have a fuckin’ awesome dog, and I miss her already. It was a wonderful weekend.
It was also refreshing to spend time with people who know how to enjoy the finer things in life. The friends that I have there don’t own a TV; they prefer to listen to NPR radio instead. They live without cell phones; opting to have conversations with friends face-to-face about politics, healthy living, and the on-going events in their local community. It was a welcome change from life in the big city. I’m really sick of the many eyes I see glued to Crackberries and iPhones everyday. Remember when we used to live–and function!–without? When we would make a meeting spot for the movies with friends and we would all magically appear there at the scheduled time?? I’m also guilty of cell phone dependency and find myself flipping the phone to see if any texts have come in frequently. But this trip has taught me (among other things) to decrease my dependency on my cell (it’s not fancy by any stretch but it is blue and that‘s what initially attracted me to it. What can I say, I like shiny objects. I am SUCH a girl).
I didn’t expect to think about Jackson as often as I did but he popped into my head on quite a few occasions. When I picked up a Bob Marley t-shirt in a local clothing store. At the cool brew pub with the great live bluegrass band. In the Thai restaurant when I ordered his favorite curry dish. Asheville was also a place we had discussed traveling to together and I couldn’t help but think of how much he would have loved it there.
That being said, I also enjoyed some alone and away time: alone with my thoughts, away from life back home. I enjoyed a break from the smog-filled streets of my home and took in the crisp mountain air every chance I had. I enjoyed the flight to Charlotte (despite the fact that I ordinarily hate flying) and the chat I had with a kind stranger seated to my left. (He might actually read this, so HELLO, DAVID! It was a pleasure). I looked for the pink lady, a figure who presumably haunts the Grove Park Inn. I toured the grounds at the Biltmore and marveled at the beautiful treasures tucked away in the antique stores in downtown Asheville. I hope to go back in the summer when the music is in full swing and even more hippies flood the streets. (God, I love me some hippies…) I would love to return with someone who believes in the importance of conservation; someone who understands and doesn’t mind my love/cult-like obsession with music. It would be wonderful to share Asheville with someone who can wax poetic about the smell of a used book from an independent book store.
But in the meantime, I’m happy I was able to escape Mother Nature’s wrath and find a tiny piece of heaven in North Carolina…