I have been living in Chattanooga for almost a month now. I am working long hours, budgeting my time, pretending to budget my money, and the purple dye that graced my hair during the bliss of summer has almost completely faded. It is so strange to be a functioning adult who is worried about car troubles, insurance, and following plans. People all around me are studying at school and making lofty statements about the adventures they're going to have after they graduate and I'm like "Oh yeah, I remember that." I can hear younger me saying "I'm never going to move back home" or "I'm not looking to ever go back to Chattanooga."
When I was a teenager, I would hang my hammock up at the Riverpark almost everyday. While listening to the water move, I would stare up at the tall pines and wish to be like them. I thought that success and beauty looked like those trees: tall, strong, and evergreen. Imagine my dismay when I did not ever grow taller than 5'2", stopped exercising, and faced some particularly sad times.
Humans are not pine trees. They are fruit trees. They grow however tall they need to be, they face seasons, and some of their branches break under the pressure of living. What is supremely lovely about this? Sometimes the branches of a healthy fruit tree are so laden with blooms and sweet things that they hang low-so low to the ground that they can see their beginning.
The reality is, I'm here in Chattanooga and I'm living at my parent's house. I am "getting back to my roots," as they say. However, through running familiar trails, driving old roads, and seeing those friendly mountains, I have been brought tremendous joy. My fruits and blooms have brought me to this place again. I get to spend a prosperous and lush season here, all the while resting in the hope of future growth.