De-stress in Black Mountain

Fred McCormick Columnist

I like to believe that everyone that lives in the Swannanoa Valley is happy to be here.

It is an an unreasonable expectation to think that a place can make you happy, but members of our community know that the Valley can certainly provide comfort.

There are countless things to do here. You can spend a day enjoying the natural beauty of the surrounding mountains or tasting some of the delicious local food.

There are events that bring the community together like the upcoming Halloween celebration that sees hundreds of families going door-to-door along Church Street and the surrounding neighborhood.

We have breweries, greenways, hiking trails and a downtown with more than its fair share of charm.

After living here for the better part of a decade, I still find myself feeling like I am on vacation.

In fact, if I had to point to the topic of conversation that comes up more than any other when I am talking to people around town, it would be just how fortunate we all are to be here.

In larger cities the pace can be so much faster. There is a need to get where you need to be and keeping up can be stressful.

Of course we all have to deal with stress on a daily basis, but I usually find comfort in my surroundings and the slower pace here in our little town.

Last Friday, I was coming to the end of a particularly busy week. I decided that I would take a nice, relaxing walk to work.

I like to tell people that Black Mountain is a great town, but to really appreciate it you have to see at eye level. The people that you pass generally smile and wave and the town’s welcoming nature is almost palpable.

The tree-lined streets were quiet as walked along them around 8 a.m. and the mountains that embrace our valley were visible in just about every direction.

As I approached town, the anticipation of a busy day in the office had completely melted away. I was focused on the smells emanating from local restaurants and the stirring of merchants arriving to open their doors for the day.

I probably walked past three or four people on my way, and every single one of them smiled and said “good morning.”

As I strolled along Sutton Avenue heading east, I looked south toward the train depot and the majestic mountains serve as its stunning backdrop.

As I went to cross Broadway, a single car passed and the driver waved to me.

I approached my office that day with a smile on my face.

My day ended up being every bit as a busy as I had anticipated, but I was mentally prepared to face it.

Today’s world is fast-paced. Social media provides information instantly and sometimes it can be a struggle to keep up.

But when you feel like you have too much on your plate or are struggling to keep up, sometimes it is best to just stop and reset.

And that’s what living in the Valley can help us all do.

We sure are lucky.