Boone: Bittersweet goodbye (for now)

Dear Boone,

Not many people can appreciate your hidden beauty, but every day since I first moved here four years ago, I have been falling in love with you more each day. You changed my world. You changed my perspective. You changed me. Who knew that a little town in the High County, whose population doubles when school is in session, could have such a lasting impact on a girl trying to find her way in the world. You may not have had the hip clubs, Target, student discount at the movie theater or the other million things the world likes to use to distract themselves, but you had heart. You had a culture of people that cared, cared about one another and cared about leaving the world better than how they left it. You became my home when I was 18 and as much as it hurts to say goodbye to my home, I think you have prepared me to take on the rest of my life. It is silly how attached I've become to you. After four years of holding hands with such a place, I guess it is really time to let go.

I thought I knew everything when I first moved to Boone. I thought I was just so "mature" for my age and knew everything about life, love and everything in between, but doesn't every 17-18 year old? Boy was I wrong. You taught me to stay grounded, become more patient, breathe every once in a while and appreciate the little things in life. You showed me a different kind of love. A kind of love that does not stay the same but grows. A love that involves much more than simply caring but respect, trust and understanding. You have put me in situations that tested my character. You let me make mistakes in order to learn from them because it is not the act of making mistakes that define your character, but how you react and learn from them that does. You enabled me to listen to the other side of the argument by getting off my stubborn high horse. You inspire me. You gave me opportunities to show what kind of person I am personally and professionally. Most of all, you gave me lasting friendships and gave me the courage, resources and drive to follow my dreams.

Not all days were good. Your winters realllllllly tested my patience. I admit to cursing your name under my breath every time I had to walk outside in your snow globe. Your winters are beautiful when I am inside with a coffee mug sitting by the fire, but man you were a bit brutal with your wind (admit it). But once you shed your winter blues and leaves starting showing their true colors, you made it all worth the wait. I can't even describe how absolutely breathtaking it was to hike your mountains and see the Blue Ridge Parkway or to feel SO close to the constellations, you felt they were in reach. You have been one heck of a back drop to my life. You let me understand the natural beauty of our surroundings. Forget those man-made skyscrapers or malls built to buy your happiness and find peace through retail therapy (although it does work temporarily). Seeing your inner peace and beauty every day has helped me to continue to find mine.
I have learned that we never stop growing ...and this is truly the beginning. I am not the same person I was four years ago and it would be silly if I was. It would be even more silly if I was the same person 10 years from now as I am today. Boone, you have helped me grow up and have led me to choose the path of greater resistance. There are no shortcuts in life and it is truly about the journey rather than the destination. I used to focus so much on the goal that I lost sight of the beauty about everything in between. You bring me back to reality but always made sure I knew my dreams were within reach. 

I still have a novel of things to learn, but Boone you have been one heck of a chapter. I will continue to write about you for years because you have been one of my true loves. Thank you for the lessons. Thank for your the change. You were everything I needed and so much more. This college graduate is going to share the beauty and strength you showed me and really make a difference in the world. I may not be able to reach the whole world, but if I can just change one life, that will be perfect enough for me. Thank for your some the best four years of my life.

This is only the beginning dearest Boone.
 Keep changing lives like you changed mine.
Plus, did I mention how kick butt your local restaurants and stores are? My goodness I am going to miss stuffing my face.

Now, excuse me while I go have a little emotional breakdown about moving. There a few happy tears in there, too. I promise. Like Dr. Suess says, "Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened."

Photo details: Photo was taken July 26, 2011, in Moses Cone off of the Blue Ridge Parkway. Once upon a time my friends and I were involved in a local band. We went out for a walk about took some band pictures showcasing the beauty that stood right outside our door, literally. This was one of scenic photos. Isn't Boone a beauty?