Driving into West Virginia can be an emotional experience.
The Wild and Wonderful welcome sign is hard to miss, but there’s more to it, right?
Ever get a lump in your throat, or tear up just a little?
Coming home is special.
That’s why Steve Wentz felt compelled to capture those feelings of being back in the Mountain State.
And he’s not alone.
His poem, That Sign Above The Highway, has created a stir on social media.
Thousands of people have liked it, and many of them have also shared their thoughts on leaving home.
And most especially, coming back, if only for a visit.
There’s no place like home for a mountaineer.
A Barbour County native, Wentz grew up about two miles outside of Hall.
Never heard of it?
Well, there are only about five houses and a church there.
But it’s still important to him, especially since two brothers live there even now.
Memories of family members, his childhood and the area’s natural beauty still resonate all these years later.
Time spent on the Buckhannon River, even a pasture complete with copperhead snakes are part of his personal and Shades of Gray Facebook pages.
Home is never far away.
“I guess it’s the peace of being able to get away from it all amid the beauty of the mountains and streams.
Not to mention the kind people that all seem to relate, and are there to help each other when they need a hand,” he said.
Fortunately, he’s never had to leave and hopes to stay put in nearby Upshur County.
Others haven’t been as lucky.
His poem is for anyone who loves West Virginia, and keeps it in their heart.
“Actually I saw a post on Facebook with a picture of the sign, and it brought about what it always meant to me. So that’s what I wrote.”
It doesn’t take much,
To make me happy,
Just a home in the hills,
Among the hardwood trees,
Can go on without me,
I’ve seen all of that,
I need to see.
Sometimes the grass,
Seems a little greener,
Sometimes we fail to see,
The greenest grass ever,
Is right here, beneath our feet.
There’s beauty in other places,
Other faces are also kind,
But in the hills of West Virginia,
The beauty of peace,
Is much more defined.
So comforting, that sign,
Above the highway,
Welcoming me back to peace,
Beyond that line, is my home,
Wild, wonderful and free,
Just to see that sign,
Is always the best part,
Of any trip for me.