There are mountain rivers flowing through my arteries, snow-clad mountains sleeping in my heart, quiet forests whispering in my mind. A mountain girl living with winding hills and breathtaking freedom, wilderness at my back door, a child who befriended broken birds and metamorphasizing caterpillars, who loved the sad little weeping willow outside her bedroom window and the creeping strawberries by the sandbox her father built with his own hands. A pious child with a great love for God and communion and an even more monumental love for her first cat, a shy girl who splashed her naked toes in cold tumbling creek water, who refused to play marbles with the boys at school because she didn’t want to lose any of her beautiful marbles. The eldest child who cared for her siblings, who made her own lunch for school, who became a Brownie. Just a tall, skinny girl with a robust imagination intent on explaining the mysteries and hurts of the world in her own way. Time may take away the bloom of youth but that little girl still lives in my cells, in my spirit, in my every breath. She will stay with me forever, no matter where my soul goes after I leave this earth.