Because Asheville

There’s an expression friends around here have been using recently – “Because Asheville.”

I like it. In only two words, it explains what is completely unexplainable about life in our town.

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 Like the unexpected magical randomness of walking down an alley and finding a scattering of yellow flower petals next to a door that says “Imagine Inventing Yellow.”

Or, discovering a mini galaxy hovering over a collection of antique bottles in the window of an old building in a dark alley late one night.

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There are many happenings and serendipitous occurrences I could give you to illuminate the meaning of “because Asheville.”

Here’s one a bit closer to my heart.

It’s likely I would not have met Tom had I not purchased the house I am currently living in, the house I affectionately call “Casa Mia.”

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I called it Casa Mia just because it’s mine, even though I am living in Appalachia and there is nothing even remotely Italian about the house (or me, for that matter.) I just like the cosy way it sounds.

I would not have met Tom because I would not have met Jo, the German rugby-playing- architect-turned-landscape-gardener-for-missionaries across the street from Casa Mia.

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And I would not even have bought Casa Mia – had it not been for yoga.

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Ten years earlier, the kids and I picked our first home in Asheville for its views –

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a little ranch house, perched on an acre of hillside

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overlooking a lake, a bird sanctuary, and the mountains.

Much as I loved it, after the kids had graduated and loved on, I decided I wanted to move closer into town.

I soon found – and lost my heart to – an old Dutch barn style house in a funky little neighborhood, just blocks from downtown.

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The realtors told me I couldn’t buy it because a contingent contract was not permitted. But I was in love and already living there, at least in my head.

I began stalking the house.

I detoured all of my trips into town so I could drive past it and gaze at it longingly. It was so charming, I fretted, surely it would sell before I could unload my current house in an uncertain real estate market.

A few days after I first saw the house, I walked into my local yoga studio. Ninety minutes later, lying on my mat in a post-Ashtanga state of savasana, a thought made its way into my somewhat blissed out head.

The heck with the realtors, I thought happily –

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why not just knock on the door and ask the owners if I could buy their house? At the time, it seemed like an entirely rational idea.

Within moments, I was on their front door-step, disheveled, sweaty and still wearing yoga clothes. I told them I was passionately in love with their house and felt inexplicably drawn to live there. And then I offered them their asking price.

The owners – a heavily tattooed Frenchman and his American wife – said okay.

As simply as that.

But, of course, it wasn’t that simple.

I arranged to pay them monthly not to sell it to anyone else while my realtor and I energetically worked to sell my house up by the lake. Seventy-two showings and seven months later, there we were, sitting at the settlement table.

And then, an hour later, the little Dutch barn house was mine.

The next spring, while working in the front yard, I met Jo –the German rugby-playing- architect-turned-landscape-gardener-for-missionaries across the street.

Jo introduced me to Tom in a blind date.

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Because Asheville.

Author: kristin fellows

Kristin Fellows is a street photographer & travel writer, based in Asheville, North Carolina. Kristin’s adventures in the past several years have taken her to Iceland to hike volcanoes and photograph puffins; to Barcelona, Mexico, Addis Ababa, and New Orleans for street photography; and most recently, to Athens for a big fat Greek wedding, to Helsinki to get beaten with frozen birch branches in the city's oldest public sauna, and to Portugal to find its quietest nooks & crannies. She has worked as a documentary film consultant on more than 65 films. Her photograph, “Skywalker,” was chosen as a National Geographic Photo of the Day in 2015. Kristin is still working on her first book, The Red Moon Letters – a non-fiction, dual-narrative thriller set in Ethiopia during the time of the Haile Selassie. Educated in both London and the US, Kristin also has a cherished diploma from the Icelandic Elf School (Álfaskólinn.) Kristin is the niece of the late New York Times foreign correspondent, Lawrence Fellows. Follow Kristin on Instagram @ kristinfellowsphotography

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