The weather here in Western North Carolina has finally felt like autumn this weekend. I’ve been spoiled by work trips to Illinois and Maine earlier this season and have been waiting somewhat impatiently for it to cool off here in my hometown. (Whoever said climate change doesn’t exist never went trick or treating in WNC in the ’70s with three layers of clothing.)
With a sink filled with dishes and a basket filled with laundry, I threw caution and chores to the wind, grabbed my favorite sweater, then head out for a solo drive on the Blue Ridge Parkway. I knew it would be crowded, but my body and soul the splendor of autumn after days of dreary rain and a chest cold.
I started the journey by heading south toward Mount Pisgah and as expected, observed hundreds of people filling overlooks to the brim.
[A quick public service announcement: Tourists, please do not leave said overlooks to prop your baby on the side of the road in a blind curve just to get the “perfect background” for your photo. Distracted leaflookers + cars + cameras do not make for a safe photo opp.]
Nonetheless, I carefully crept up the mountains, through the tunnels, and around the curves to one of my favorite hidden backroads, Hwy 151. As I turned off, I took a deep breath and settled in for a relaxed ride.
As I rounded each curve, the late afternoon magnified and brightened the shades of yellow, orange and red. Turn after turn after turn, I vocally oooh’d and aaah’d at each tree–doesn’t matter how old I get, I will never grow weary of what the next turn holds on a mountain road in autumn.
There is something to be said for being bathed in color so I pulled off the road, walked into the woods, and invited the light through leaves to wrap around me. If you’ve never experienced it, it is really quite lovely–surrendering all distraction to get lost in the luminosity. It is amazing how nature offers opportunities for healing through simple things like light and color.
After standing there for quite some time, I felt reinvigorated, like my spirit had been warmed from the inside out. I lifted up a prayer of gratitude then headed on my way back toward town.
Some might say that 20 or even 10 years ago, I would not have been so spontaneous. I would have needed to plan it out or not given myself permission to “play” before “work.”
As I age, I find myself growing in wisdom around a few things–living a full life, learning from Nature, embracing the “just be” of Creation. Yesterday reminded me that we are given the gift of re-creation every day–we simply must be willing to embrace the moment, make the time, and let the Light bathe us in new life.