THINGS I'VE LEARNED SINCE MOVING TO THE MOUNTAIN
To say that Monteagle Mountain is a bit, um, quirky would be a huge understatement. It has some traditions that are unique but unsurprising to a born Southerner.
Whose House Is That?
For example, "Sam Jenson's House" is called that no matter how many people have lived there since he built it 75 years ago.
I Just Moved Here
Like many Southerners, people on the Mountain give directions based on where stuff used to be. "Turn by the church that burned down in 1942, the one that had the big oak tree that Sam Jensen made all his furniture out of." Street signs seem to be a recent innovation and entirely optional.
Always a Stranger
If you move here when you are two years old, you won't live long enough to be considered a local. That takes many generations. The assumption by the long-timers is that everyone knows what they know, because they've been here just as long. And if they don't know it, that's a clear sign that they don't much matter in the grand scheme of things.
Impatience Gets You Nowhere
Come here from a bustling city and you'll need to adjust your idle speed. People take their time and, once you start taking yours, it's very liberating. If a supplier isn't moving quickly enough for you, pushiness resets the delivery date to "never."
Driving Times Vary
Allow five extra minutes per mile to get where you're going if it's foggy. (Hint: It's foggy a LOT.)
If the fog is real bad, you drive "by ear."
The fog can be as thick as cotton up here. To drive from St. Andrews-Sewanee to the University, someone told me you just roll down your window and listen for traffic before you pull out on the highway. This must be why Sewanesians have guardian angels.
The fog isn't always weather. It's a state in which newcomers often find themselves... groping, feeling around, trying to figure things out.
Still, the mountain is seductive and has a strong pull. When I come home to it now, I feel the stress just melt away. The sunny days more than make up for the foggy ones.
"I wasn't born on Monteagle Mountain, but I got here as quick as I could."
Kim Phillips is an artist, marketer, writer, graphic designer and gardener living in Monteagle, Tennessee. She works from her studio, Tiny Creative House.
© 2017 Kim Phillips | Tiny Creative House