2011 view of the lake

A Kindred Spirit in the Mountains

By Mike Hilton

A friend and mentor once told me that if a past experience continues resurfacing it means that you haven’t fully processed it. A decade and a half after driving an old blue Chevy van out of the mountains, I find myself frequently going back to the experience, knowing there’s more to learn, more growth to come.

I find a kindred spirit in those same mountains, more active participant in the experience than backdrop. More than anything else in the region, that landscape has shaped the Appalachian people and their culture, and they had the same effect on me during my 3 month stay. I find peace and comradery there.

As a Lexingtonian, I revisit those sacred hills frequently, knowing that I’ll emerge refreshed, much like visiting an old friend. When I do, the mountains and I together reflect on the white house on the side of the road that itself has seen so much. It tells its story on the walls and ceilings, somehow conveying the many voices of UDSAP past in the harmony of one song.

I’m grateful to be counted among the choir.

Mike Hilton   UDSAP '02

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