It’s something like the mist on the mountains, and the way these mornings feel — always colder than it’s going to be five minutes later, and quiet, and new.

Something like the smallest mall in the world and the way retail therapy there secretly feels better than anything shiny and new back home.

Something like Parkway drives so perfect they don’t even look real, patchwork on the mountains, unbelievable views in the most prosaic places and getting your breath taken away in the parking lot of the grocery store.

Something like snow up to your knees and frozen leaves and ice dripping from the trees, and the way the world feels stranger when there’s snow on the ground at night.

Something like riotous leaves in the fall and the sound of the bell tower, and hot coffee on cold hands and people taking portraits in Durham Park.

Something like the sweetest surrounding towns with the loveliest words in their names. Valle. Banner. Ashe.

Something like walking past places you’ve worn in and loved, dorms and libraries and offices and streets. Every window is another memory and, good or bad, it’s okay that it happened.

It’s something like home.

It’s something like love.