Editor’s note: Congratulations to April White, the 12th weekly winner in the “I Am Bays Mountain” contest sponsored by Bays Mountain Park & Planetarium and the Times News. As a weekly winner, April will receive an annual membership pass to Bays Mountain Park & Planetarium.
Everyone who enters is eligible for weekly prizes; a random monthly prize drawing, the last of which is Oct. 25; and the grand prize. Share your story at contests.timesnews.net.
By April White
Bays Mountain was not a part of my life at the beginning, but it was a part of the beginning of my life.
I didn’t grow up in Kingsport, or even Tennessee for that matter. But Bays Mountain was the stage for the most significant moment of my life.
I was 23 years old the first time I visited the park in 2002. My boyfriend had moved to Kingsport for work, and I would come on occasion for a visit. The park was one of our favorite places to visit together.
One beautiful day, on Sept. 19, 2003, we took a walk up the Ridge Trail to a beautiful overlook of the valley below. As we turned to leave, he stopped and got down on one knee and asked me the most wonderful question of all, if I would be his wife! The answer was an immediate yes.
Four months later, we were married, and I became a resident of Kingsport.
That day on Bays Mountain was the start of the rest of my life; that’s why it’s the most significant day of my life. That day meant I would be joined to the one my soul loved. That day meant we would embark on a journey together in a place far from home and family and everyone we knew. That day meant we would start our own family, and what a beautiful one it is!
I love living in Kingsport and consider it home. In fact, the years here have been the longest time I’ve lived in one city. We have developed beautiful friendships and found places to worship and serve others. This is home.
Standing sentinel over our home is the mountain where our life together began.
Each time I see it — whether driving in town or out the window — I’m reminded of the special place it has in my life. Each time we visit — either just the two of us or as a family — I’m reminded of the enduring promise made that day and how Kingsport became our home.
When I look at the beautiful landscapes of the park and its vistas, I’m not reminded of the past, but of the future. Bays Mountain doesn’t look like my childhood; it looks like my life. I’m so excited to see what our future holds and all the memories we will make there.