Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Paint Me Down

This was from the highest point on the Blue Ridge Parkway - over 6,000 feet. We were almost at the top of the mountain. We sat on the grass and were silent in our awe.
I have become partial to Fall, even living in a place where the leaves usually change color from green to dead brown. But lately I’ve become more interested in colorful plants like Crotons and wild grasses. The reds, oranges, yellows, purples and greens elevate my spirits.
It wasn’t always like this. I used to really dislike this time of year. The first cool licks created a fierce loneliness that I can only suggest was because of the void left by my mother. I would listen to music in my room growing up, and later as an adult, and cry over the sorrow I felt at the end of summer.

The sea of color below me and the endless tease of the blue moutains sparked something that had been waiting to come alive, now I will have to learn how to contain it.
But not anymore. I appreciate the reprieve from the heat and the hope for longer evenings. And this year I was blessed with the wonders that are a true sign of Fall for many people, the stroked paintings of trees. Tuesday was Blue Ridge Parkway day, a treat from Ronn who gave me just a taste on Monday. Traveling along the winding roads, through tunnels, past dripping waterfalls and stopping at observation points really brought the season to life. Looking from a vantage point of 6,000 feet only made me more in tune with the beauty that God, the Universe, insert deity here – had in mind when he/she/it made this world.

Living in Florida, we don't see much in the way of yellow ferns, unless they are dying - these looked so vibrant and happy I kept smiling at them as they smiled back.

As I rested on the edge of the mountain looking out at the double exposure ghostly image of these blue wonders, I realized it was the most beautiful sight I had ever seen. I was smiling the whole time without even realizing it until Ronn pointed it out. I have seen the rolling hills of Tuscany, the crowded streets of Paris, the fireworks over Manhattan and flowers from all over the world, yet this by far was the most intense experience I have yet to witness.
No picture could ever capture the awe and the feeling of completeness I experienced. This will not be the only time I capture a moment in this place. I have my sights set on traveling the entire length of the parkway and taking my time about it. We went about 90 miles that day from Cherokee to Asheville and it took us 3-1/2 hours, but I still feel like I went too fast. To hike, walk, ride a bike, read, write, cry there is my goal and soon. Plus I saw my first woodchuck and I want to see more.

Tinged with brown, or is it russet, a yellow leaf grabs attention away from of the more showier plants, and holds its own nicely.

As clouds rolled in we left the parkway for civilization and Asheville where there is a magnificent farmer’s market. Spectacular sights and food canned and bottled with love – that is heaven. I stocked up on sauces, jellies, veggies, rubs and spices plus a wonderful loaf of sourdough bread.
My trek back was on the modern highway and time was made pretty fast especially since I kept trying to drop minutes from the GPS, without getting a ticket – success. As the sky grew dark, and even darker on the mountain, I settled in for the evening.

Not letting anything, including a rock wall stop it, this plant is following the cue and peeking out some golden hues.

This was when I started feeling our trip coming to an end, and heartache set in. I felt exiled from the utter joy I felt on the mountain and spent a while just sitting on the swing, alone weeping. I hate getting ahead of myself, especially on vacation, but it only lasted for a few moments. I sipped my wine and went back in to the warmth and made plans for next time.

Wow - just wow!

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