It is always wonderful, driving out to see Julie in West Virginia. Any route taken between the Hampton Roads area and the area just north of Charleston will take you through gorgeous valleys and up and down breath-taking mountains. This was my third time making the trek, and it will most likely be my last. She got married yesterday and is moving far away. I was so blessed to be able to spend her last single night with her, help her find and install her earrings, unexpectedly get to drive her to the church, and be there when she said her vows. Walking down the aisle as her bridesmaid to a bagpipe playing... that was just an extra bonus. Julie is rather in love with her family's Scottish heritage, and I am too. I've always been kinda nuts about Britain. I have English and Irish in my ancestry, so between us, we make up a great country.
I can't even describe how fun it was to drive through the forests, alternately illuminated in brilliant sunshine or clouded over in low, wispy clouds or enveloped in lighting storms and cascades of rainfalls. The worst part was on the way back, going down a 7% grade slope in torrential rain that made seeing the car in front of me nearly impossible. I don't think I've ever been more afraid! I gripped the wheel with tight fists and prayed. I had already experienced a bit of mild hydroplaning in the flat part of 64 just east of Charleston (going very carefully), so the thought of not being able to stop in time was... fresh in my mind. But after surviving the storm and nearing Charlottesville, the sun poked out and a giant, vivid rainbow filled up the sky in front of me as the many greens of the trees and fields were lit up golden-green all around. Just in case I didn't have enough weather, I was treated to a sudden and violent display of lightning straight ahead as I was homing in on Hampton Roads in the darkness of 9-10pm. Such beauty!
What made the trip there and back even more fun was the long, uninterrupted time I had to listen to Switchfoot. I have practically everything they've ever released on my phone, so I just selected them from "artists" and let it go. It was so neat to sing along... their lyrics are rather soul-searching, philosophical and sometimes satirical. Very deep feelings involved usually, since a few of their releases have coincided with certain times of my life appropriately. The angry album, just when my friends rejected me (I couldn't listen to all of that one this time... I was too happy... and I didn't like thinking about it as a yuppy word); the hopeful one just as I was joining the Navy and knowing it would be hard (Hello, Hurricane). I listened to most of it straight through... here are a few of the lesser-listened-to-favorites:
You (from The Legend of Chin) and Chem 6A and Home
The ENTIRE New Way to Be Human album
You Already Take Me There/ Playing for Keeps from Learning to Breathe
and on the newer side of things, The Sound in My Mouth (recently discovered)
All this doesn't even touch on the brand new Fading West/ The Edge of the Earth stuff that I AM IN LOVE WITH. Also, Vice Verses is pretty fantastic. Good grief. I love it all. I didn't even lose my voice! Amazed.
But what was really awesome about being there (besides seeing Julie and her family again) was that I got to meet or get to know her other best friends who were also bridesmaids. We had a GRAND time.
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