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Missing My Old Life In Summer

By Beth Anne Ballance |

Luck o' the Irish is to blame for my super pale legs.

The other night, I pulled out my Chacos and slid my un-sunned feet into them, still sporting “winter” nail polish.  (Chacos are those strappy river shoes you see on my feet to the left.) It instantly felt like summer and those six years ago when I guided river tours and spent an entire summer on a lake, living in a cabin.

Back in college, I spent every summer in school, determined to finish “on time.”  With our rigorous business school, it was almost unheard of to finish in four years, but I was determined to be the exception.  There were so many hot days I sat in Finance classes and upper-level marketing before running to my hostessing job, completely envious of my sorority sisters that lounged by the pool or took nanny jobs.  I studied non-stop for four years, making Dean’s list and keeping my full-ride scholarship.  By the time I graduated in May 2005, I was exhausted and about to get engaged and I needed a break.  So I packed up my old trunk and drove four hours to the mountains of North Carolina, where I spent almost four months on the river.

It was the greatest adventure of my life.  I lived in a cabin with six 15-year-olds and each night, I read them books from my childhood.  Everyone laughed when I brought Judy Blume to camp for high school girls, but every night my girls would climb into their bunks and beg me to read just “one more chapter!”  I taught girls how to swim and how to build a fire from scratch in the mountains.  We would pack our framepacks and head up into the mountains for 3 days at a time, sometimes 5, and we’d cook pita pizzas on coals and roast s’mores.

That summer, I felt all the tension drain off my shoulders.  The days were long and hot and the river was like coming home.  Sometimes when I need a break, I close my eyes and picture the Blue Ridge Mountains and wish I could go back for one more summer.

Beth Anne writes words & takes pictures on The Heir to Blair.
You can also find her on the Twitters & Facebook.

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About Beth Anne Ballance


Beth Anne Ballance

Beth Anne Ballance is a born and bred Southern Belle, blogging at okay, ba and using words and pictures to celebrate the challenges of motherhood and the joy of life. You can also find her on Facebook and Twitter. Read bio and latest posts → Read Beth Anne's latest posts →

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0 thoughts on “Missing My Old Life In Summer

  1. Carla says:

    I grew up in those mountains (the Asheville area to be exact) and I miss them terribly. Now I live in FL with the hubs and our little guy, but I crave NC mountain summers sometimes. I love getting to go back and visit my parents, but it’s usually around holidays (a.k.a. “Freaking Cold”). Thanks for this post. It’s always nice to get a little glimpse of home.. :)

  2. Lauren says:

    I had a similar experience–my first choice for school was initially Appalachian, but I ended up at ECU on scholarship (and grateful for it.) I still had a heart for the mountains, though, and got hired to work as a counselor at a summer camp held on campus at App the summer after my freshman year. And I LOVED it. There is nothing better than the mountains in the summer–granted, I didn’t have the “roughing it” experience that you did (we lived in the residence halls and ate in the cafeteria) but my co-workers and I would go exploring on our days off. And I ended up swimming at “Trash Can Falls” off the side of the Blue Ridge Parkway, going on hikes and taking moonlit walks to the edge of campus to see the stars. Every time I’m back up in Boone, I remember that summer and am so glad I got to do it. I often wonder how I would’ve turned out if I had gone to school up there–I feel like there’s a hippy granola girl just waiting to break out :)

  3. kristen says:

    I agree, there’s something about the summer that makes me miss my more carefree days more! Fall and winter and the holidays make being a mom and having family time so much fun, and summer has its pluses too, with swimming and water parks and beach trips, but there’s an extra pang of nostalgia that creeps in with the warm weather that I never feel in the colder months.

    Also, my rich great aunt and uncle have a summer home in Asheville and visiting them was my favorite vacation ever. It’s so gorgeous there! Your camp summer sounds amazing.

  4. Molly@ Little Stories Everywhere says:

    I’m from the Banner Elk/Boone area. Where did you go? Is that Edge of the World rafts that I see??? Could it be????

    1. bethanne says:

      @Molly, I was in Tuxedo, NC! In the southern portion of the state, right near South Carolina :)

  5. Heather says:

    At the end of my heinous commute everyday, at the stoplight before I turn off the “big” highway towards my street, I have a GLORIOUS view of the NC mountains. Living near the NC is one of the things I am thankful for on a daily basis. My house is only 25 minutes from Boone/Blowing Rock and my IL’s have a mountain house near Table Rock. Going there in the summer feels like home. It is a different pace, away from everything and it does amazing things for my soul. It’s one of those things you just don’t “get” until you’ve experienced it for yourself!

  6. TarheelJean says:

    Would you still be jealous now of the girls taking nanny jobs? That crap is hard!! :)

    The mountains are indeed glorious. We always had our Wesley fall retreat in the Banner Elk area in college so I have great memories there. And I just spent a lovely weekend with my college girlfriends at Lake Lure. Ahhhh….

  7. Megan B says:

    I went to Appalachian and every summer was like that. Luckily, I still live just about a half-hour away. The mountains are in my blood; I love them so.

  8. Hillary says:

    Maybe your next kid will be a girl and in 15 short years you can bring her there!

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