Posts Tagged With: west virginia

I’ve yet to see a deer…

In keeping with the West Virginia homesick theme, I have to mention the other night.  I was talking on the phone with my friend Tyler, who’s currently in New York, and as we were talking I was enjoying the cool night air.  Back home I wouldn’t be outside at night this time of year without a heavy jacket, and probably a scarf and a hat, but only a light sweatshirt is needed so far in Tennessee.

Anyway, as Tyler and I were talking, I walked around the corner of the house and saw an opossum….in Memphis…in Tennessee.

Cute, in a scary stay-over-there kinda way.

Cute, in a scary stay-over-there kinda way.

 

Doesn’t seem too shocking, does it?  In West Virginia, wild animals are all over the place.  Our state is stereotyped for eating roadkill, of all kinds; we even have a roadkill festival.

For me, this sighting marked two things.  1) It was my first live wild animal sighting in Tennessee.  (I did see a dead raccoon within a couple of weeks here.) 2) If opossums live here, then maybe there are more wild animals (not counting that one raccoon, he could’ve been a fluke).  If there are more wild animals, they have to live somewhere, right?  If they have to live somewhere, there must be wild green space, right?

So really, I’m just excited about the prospect of forest, or uncultivated green-ness.

I make it sound like I’ve never been to a city before Memphis.  I have been to plenty of other cities.  I lived in Morgantown last year and I thought that was a city…I never expected to be this confused living in a city though.  I expected to panic about driving, and get lost all the time.  I even expected Mom to tell me about all the crimes that happened here in the last year and a half.  I just didn’t expect the city to be so grey.

And I’ve yet to see a deer.

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Oh the hills…

029

I made this as a present for one of my best friends, Kurtis.

I’m not saying that Memphis is flat…but it’s no Mountain State.  I never really thought about how much the land impacts my mood.  I should have known that being away from my hills would zap a lot of my energy though.  I had a folklore class that talked about the ‘sense of place’ that is so important to Appalachians, it’s one of the reasons that so many people never want to leave home.

I’m one of those people.  Living in a city is so oddly disconcerting…I just want to find a hill and roll down it.  People would probably think I was crazy, but I’m used to that sort of thing.

And missing home doesn’t mean I think any less of Memphis.  This place is great.  There’s always something happening or something to do, which is refreshing.  Back in Fairmont it seemed like we were always trying to find something to do, and yes it would sometimes mean going to Wal-Mart to walk around.  At the same time, all this bustle makes me long for a back porch to sit on…

Having this internship has made me realize quite a lot of things in the short time that I’ve been here, but the point that stands out most is how important West Virginia is in my life.  It has shaped my worldview in so many ways, mostly good but some that I’m working on changing.

One thing I know for sure, I’ll live in a lot of places before I settle down, but West Virginia will always be home.

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Lauren Mann

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