I had a wonderful trip visiting friends in the Appalachians, we wandered the woods, made muscadine wine, drank some muscadine wine (oh so good), laughed, cried, shared a meal with the ancestors, talked about life, and healed each other.

I’d never been to that part of the country before, and it was interesting how much like home it felt. As I was driving through the mountains and hills, with their tall trees and changing leaves I thought to myself that I very well could be driving around the Ozarks. It was a sort of ah-ha moment for me, connecting why exactly my ancestors settled down in the Ozarks, because it reminded them of home.

There’s a deep connection that hillfolk in this country have. An ancient bond between families and clans. My own ancestors came out of the same mountains I drove through this past week. It was odd calling out to them during our ancestor feast. I was worried they wouldn’t show up. Did they follow me here? Or were they scared and stayed back in the Ozark hills? But then they came, and I was overwhelmed with emotions. They were happy to be in that place, among those mountains and woods, with friends and ancient kin. It felt like a family reunion of those spirits both living and dead, with a land that has sheltered and supported my family and others for centuries.