Many people usually give me a didn’t-see-that-coming look when I tell them I grew up in Tennessee. I don’t have an accent and don’t like sweet tea, but I am indeed from the South and am very proud of it. I recently went home for a week and thoroughly enjoyed being back near the Smoky Mountains with my family and childhood friends. No matter where I roam around the world or currently reside, Tennessee will always be home.
Besides the Volunteer State being home, it’s hard for me to pinpoint and articulate what exactly it is I like about Tennessee. There is the Southern hospitality which is unparalleled. There is the familiarity of returning to where I grew up. And there is the BBQ and ribs which always has my mouth watering. The view of the mountains is something that I quickly learned that I took for granted when I was living there. Now when I’m absent for months at a time, some things in particular stand out about what makes Tennessee so special when I return to it.
This past trip I was reminded of the whimsical awe and childlike wonderment that summer lightening bugs can stir. It’s a beautiful sight to see a pitch-black field with no one around for miles light up with fireflies. It’s like a myriad of white Christmas lights scattered across the landscape and sparkling to their own rhythm. In the remoteness that one can find themselves in parts of Tennessee, a certain magic of the landscape takes over you. With no major city around, the night sky has its own majesty. Stars blanket the pure blackness and the sky always seems bigger to me from my parents’ backyard. In the silence interrupted only by crickets, I’ve often lost track of time taking in both the fireflies and the Southern night skies. Besides being my home, there is something undeniably magical about the South.