The Smoky Mountains in Summer

by Ana
(Tampa, Florida, USA)

The mountains are a cool and breezy spot to visit in the summer. Just the sight of the distant peaks touching the clouds fills me with a cool, refreshed feeling. Winding up, around and around in my family’s old station wagon, the drops by the side of the road are fearsome, but thoughts of cascading waterfalls and streams overwhelm any fears with anticipation.
  When we stop, I pull off my shoes and dry cotton socks and eagerly wade into the foaming water, cautiously stepping on slipper rocks, balancing myself with an old tree branch in hand. The very air smells different from home-- sweet and grassy. It is warm but only just enough to keep the cool breeze and icy water pleasant on my skin.
  At night the fireflies pulse at dusk, disappearing only to reappear a few feet further, lighting up the bushes and trees.The excitement of tomorrow and exhaustion of today help rush me off to sleep beneath a thick cover, making a foreign bed as soft and comfortable as my own.
  I get up early, eager to explore. Outside the cabin, on the mountainside, the fog hangs heavy. I feel as if I am in the clouds, and fairy nets dot the grasses, heavy with dew. I pick purple thistle and wildflowers, and as I walk my socks and shoes become soaking wet with the dew. The grass leaves fine cuts all over my legs by the sting is part of the moment. In the distance I see more mountains, and cottages scattered on the sides. When the fog clears, below I see the town.
  We walk down trails later in the day, climbing to waterfalls. When we find one, we splash in the crystal water and stand beneath the cascade. My mother and father and brother are all there. Climbing carefully on the rocks in our bathing suits, we look for crawfish. My brother and I search for the perfect walking stick which we’ll never manage to fit in the car for the trip home.

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