After a very nice brunch with my brother and fam on Sunday, I headed west out of Richmond to visit my mother in Charlottesville. The corridor between Richmond and C'ville hasn't changed much. Its still a long concrete strip cut out of the forest and flanked on both sides by a very close curtain of evergreen and deciduous trees that can, at times, feel very claustrophobic. Though my mother lives outside of town and it is possible to avoid going in to C'ville altogether, I was low on gas and stopped off at Pantops for a refill. I was shocked to see so much development, so many new shopping centers, so many cars and bustling Charlottesvillians in a place which used to be the edge of town and rather sparse with people. I did much of my schooling in C'ville in the '90's, so it holds many happy/strange/awkward/nostalgic/funny memories for me. And it appears after I left for good in 1999, the small town which used to feel rather like an easy-moving river is now busting at the seams with large SUV's, Starbucks and other accoutrements of progress.
It is very early spring here, and the peach tree in my mother's garden is in full bloom. She lives in a magical little house which sits in a clearing surrounded by the sounds of running water and moss floors. I got to visit my old cat Quaxo, who still after all these years remembers that I'm the one who picks him up and slings him over my shoulder. He has always loved this. She was not feeling well, so after dropping off her birthday presents and staying to chat for a bit, I set off north driving all afternoon through the gorgeous rolling hills of central and northern Virginia to another rare locale in a rural part of Maryland.
Sophia's house is surrounded by gorgeous lakes, forests of bamboo and hillsides covered in kitchen herbs, which were all readying themselves for spring.
All in all, it was a great trip.