It was as if Christmas morning was just hours away, and I would miss it if I drifted off to sleep. The next morning, as I loaded up the RV with my brother and sister, I felt as if the RV was symbolic of a time machine- taking me back to my childhood. As we pulled out of our home in the hot, flat lands of Orlando, I dreamed of my elementary years in New Hampshire. The most note-worthy aspect of my hometown was the snow that began to drift every fall without fail. It was then that I realized that I had no recollection of my younger years, aside from making snow angels in the winter. What had I done in the summer? As we drove up the East Coast, the anxiety was building- what had my childhood been like? I knew nothing but palm trees and Disney World, since I left New Hampshire at seven years old.
I watched the road as we approached my cousin’s house- deep in the woods. It was already two o’clock in the morning and we were all exhausted, so we postponed the welcoming meet-and-greet until the next morning. During breakfast, we caught up with our distant family members. My uncle suggested that we all take a daytrip up to the Presidential Mountain Range. My father concurred, and before I knew it, the family was driving up Mount Washington.
As the trees began to shrink, I knew we were approaching the peak of the mountain. At over 6000 feet above sea level, Mount Washington was a beautiful piece of art, and I was truly amazed at this mysterious world that I had been absent from for so many years. As I walked the perimeter of the rock-covered visitor center, I could feel the clouds dampen my hair. I walked over to the edge of the mountain, trying to peer downward through the fog and clouds. The only thing separating me from tumbling to my death was a four-foot wall. Adrenaline rushed through my body, and I was lost in the stories that the mountain was whispering to me. My body froze, and my mind wandered into a seemingly unconscious sleep as I remembered this place from somewhere- but perhaps it was simply a dream. I was awoken by my parents calling my name through the fog and wind. We got back in the car and drove down the mountain. I immediately fell asleep and continued my dreaming that had been interrupted on the mountain.
When I woke up, I found myself in the parking lot of The Flume, a gorgeous nature trail featuring natural waterfalls and streams. As we walked through the trail, I felt as if I was one with nature. It was so beautiful, and I thought about all of my friends in Orlando, who had never been out of Florida. These amazing places in New Hampshire were stories that need to be told. I began to take pictures incessantly. I could not believe that such a place existed, and I knew that without visual proof, none of my friends back in Florida would believe me.
Leaving New Hampshire was like saying “goodbye” to Heaven. I decided, though, that would not be my last time there. I knew from the moment we arrived that I was home. I knew there was a place for me in New Hampshire, and my story had just begun.
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