Category Archives: convertible

October is …

unrivalled, my favorite time of year.

It is a month of contrasts for me.

The joy of Autumn.

Leaf-strewn country roads, leaves falling as I drive with the top down, deep colors in the forests, tobacco hanging in aging barns, hay waiting in long fields and orchards full with ripe, red apples.

These are the joyous things that lift me high and make me feel as free as the raptors migrating along the spine of my beloved Clinch Mountains.

The sad parts have a say, but they are muted; dulled by the magnificence of Mother Nature as she concedes, under the watchful eye of Father Time, her reign to Old Man Winter.

Time, which has no regard for anyone, will pass without fail or regard to any of us.

The voice of things past becomes harder to hear as years go by.

That, in and of itself, is a good thing.

If I stumble and fall over what is in the past, then it’s not possible to say that I have moved on, adapted, regained my balance.

I could wallow in what can’t be undone, but to what purpose?

I could brood (I’ve been told that I brood in the fashion of my Irish and Scottish ancestors).

And sometimes, I do, simply because I feel like brooding.

During those times, I throw breakable things at breakable things and have completely awesome meltdowns that leave me purged, yet restless.

Most often, however, I just go with it.

Time doesn’t care about me, mine, you or yours.

It simply passes, and once it’s gone, it’s gone.

I’m claiming this October for myself.

Not for what I’ve lost, but for what it is.

My favorite time of year.

A peaceful, easy feeling.

That, for the here and now, is how I intend to roll.

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Above me …

a vast and beautiful sky spreads endlessly in varying shades of blue.

Trees dance as I pass, waving their leaves in rhythm to the erratic strings of Vivaldi.

The wind plays cheerfully with my hair as the afternoon sun warms my face.

My soul is free; my spirit soaring.

For this moment in time, my thoughts are my own.

I find myself giddy with the pure joy of it all.

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My beloved …

much missed and cherished convertible is back.

She still makes noises and currently has no back seats, but she’s running.

I have missed my little car.

I mistreated her by making her pretend she was a Jeep, but she took it.

I will mistreat her again to get to the places I need to go and she, as she always has, will understand.

She knows me, my dreams and aspirations.

She understands my yearning to see and photograph.

I’m very happy to have her back and hope she knows how much I’ve missed her.

She’s mine; she was always meant to be mine.

I won’t trade her when I am finally able fulfill my lifelong dream and get a Jeep.

No, she’s safe here. She will always have a place in my heart (and in my driveway).

I’m pretty sure she knows that.

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She took me to my falls many, many times.

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She took me to the high places at Clingman’s Dome in the Smoky Mountains, where snow fell heavily in October.

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She took me, in the pouring rain, to Hungry Mother Park in Marion, VA

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She took me up and down Big Moccasin every day, stopping often so I could photograph my favorite trees.

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She took me, more than once, to the Outer Banks of NC.

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OBX again …

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and again.

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She took my girls with me many times …

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      many times.

Yes, I’m very happy to have her back.

Very happy, indeed.

My lovely little …

convertible is, so I’m told, on the mend.

For six weeks, I’ve been without her.

Begging and borrowing vehicles on the fly.

Never knowing from one day to the next what I’ll be driving.

As much as I miss my car, I miss my Outer Banks bumper sticker, which I proudly displayed on my hood, more.

Pirate’s Paradise it proclaimed.

On my hood.

I miss that sticker nearly as much as I miss my car.

I want a Jeep, yes, but on my timeline.

And the OBX sticker is a dealbreaker.

I suppose the only thing (family not included) I love more than my car is the OBX.

I want that sticker, preferably still attached to my car.

Hope springs eternal, right?

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And so it does.

Spring eternally, that is.

I had every intention …

of blogging about driving around today with the convertible top down, the music loud and the wind in my face; of blooming trees and budding flowers, puffy clouds in a blue, sun-drenched sky and the perfectness of a warm April day.

But I just hung up the phone after talking to my mom and the things I previously held up in importance faded into the background.

She is a rock, a beacon, a lighthouse, a safe haven.

She knows everything about me, the things that shamed me and, at one time or another, shamed her.

In my youth, I hurt her deeply and couldn’t find within myself the knowledge or ability to make it right.

She knows of my dreams and aspirations and is always the first one to encourage me even as she puts her own dreams and aspirations on hold.

It isn’t easy to explain to someone that thoughts, images, words, experiences, memories and a myriad of other flotsam runs through my head, in a constant stream, even when I’m sleeping.

And that is when I am at my baseline and not in manic mode.

She takes it in stride without judgement or condemnation and, I have come to realize, did so even when I felt I was being judged and condemned.

Nobody can condemn me any more than I condemn myself.  It is the nature of my world and I live with it.

She knows, though, simply by looking at my face or hearing my voice ,when I am in the throes of mania or, thankfully more rarely, the despondency of a depressive crash.

She understands that sometimes, I have to go away; from her, from myself, from everyone and just be dormant.

She knows these things and doesn’t hold them against me.

There is no “well, you did this or that or the other thing”.

She isn’t like that.

She is patient and kind.

She is, without doubt, the Proverbs 31 woman.

I would like to be like her, but that is an aspiration that will never come.  It isn’t that my cup is half empty, but that I live, as much as I can, in a reality-based existence.

She is a light in a dark place and I migrate to her when I need simply to know that someone loves me unconditionally.

I tell her I love her, but how do you describe to someone that  you cannot imagine a life without them.

Unless I die first by some freak event, by the natural order of things, I will lose her at some point in my life.

I cannot imagine a world without my mom.

So I will put that with other things I cannot imagine into a box that lives in the outer-regions of my heart.

When I am manic, the box will break open and I will have to face the possibility, but for now, when I am am simply on overdrive, it is secure in the  little locked box.

She inspires me with her acceptance and encouragement and that, without doubt or reservation, beats blooming trees in springtime seen from a back road drive with the convertible top down.

I love you, Mom .

A houseguest

 

My Mother's Mother's bleeding hearts

My Mother’s Mother’s bleeding hearts

 

This is how she makes me feel ... cherished

This is how she makes me feel … cherished

All of that being said about my mom, I want to extrapolate to another area and  extend prayers and encouragement to a friend that I have long lost touch with.  She lost her son, the light of her world and is now lying among the shattered pieces of her world.  Keep Pam Begley in your prayers when you pray.  I cannot fathom losing a child.

 

Even if I have to steal it …

I’m getting a jeep.

Ok, so that was a bit of an exaggeration.

I don’t steal things, especially vehicles.

Well, especially doesn’t really count when I don’t steal things.  There really isn’t an especially in such circumstances is there?

I need a Jeep so that I can get to my beloved waterfall through the worst winter weather.  The road is currently under several inches of well-packed snow that my sweet little front-wheel drive, she’s-been-a-good-car-though, PT Cruiser convertible just couldn’t go.

(note:  the convertible top was NOT down).

Grand theft auto would land me in the stoney lonesome and it would be quite some time before I could see over the barbed-wire lined wall, much less drive the winding, mountain roads that bring me such pleasure.

But today, when I arrived nearly to the falls, I found that my little cruiser wasn’t up for the task.  She tried, but there is a limit to her magnificence.

I did what I always do when my hopes are shattered by unforeseen circumstances and that which I long so desperately for is unattainable.

I cry.

It isn’t that I’m a baby, on the contrary, I’m pretty tough.

I seem, however, to have little control over my tear ducts.

They are betrayers of the worst kind and often decide to show themselves at the most inopportune times.

So I didn’t get to the falls today.

If the weatherman is worth his weight in hair gel, though, there will me many other opportunities.  According to him, who hits the nail on the head about 20% of the time, the low temps in February are going to be as cold, if not colder, than January.

Now I don’t expect to have my Jeep by then, but my dad has a truck … and he likes me.

Even though I didn’t get to see the magnificence of the falls that I am certain had to be frozen, I did get some nice shots of a mostly frozen, snow-covered creek full of lovely rocks.

I just love rocks.

Take rocks, put them in water, freeze it and add some snow … well, it helped take the sting out of not being able to reach the falls today.

Caution:  shameless self promotion – click on the photographs for some sweet Valentine’s Cay cards from Through the Eyes of the Spirit (aka:  me)

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Rocks in their Winter attire.snowyrocks_jan2014-44

The Magic of Winter.snowyrocks_jan2014-42

Beneath the Ice.snowyrocks_jan2014-32

As always, thanks for following along and remember,  be who you are because nobody does it better.

People who drive convertibles …

learn some things that the average Joe may not consider.

Now, Jeep owners (which I dearly hope to become one day), consider what they drive a Jeep, but it is, without room for argument, at the end of the day, a convertible.

I’m not talking about the Jeeps that aren’t really Jeeps but call themselves one.  Those don’t count and will never count.  Sorry if your toes are stepped on, but really?

That being cleared up …

We learn to watch the sky.

We know the difference between just plain clouds, rain filled clouds and clouds that are in the process of emptying themselves onto the earth.

We know the difference between a fog bank and a rain band.

We know, when driving in familiar places, all the little turnouts that serve as places to put the top up quickly when there are rain bands and cloud emptying ahead.

We know how hard it is raining just by looking and as such, whether we can get by with leaving the top down and letting the sprinkles simply fly right past us or take the next turnout we come to and put the top up moments before the typhoon hits.

All of this being said, I found myself caught by surprise tonight.

I was nearly home after attending an event my daughter had invited me to at her University.

Eight miles to go.  Only eight.

But I wasn’t paying attention to the sky.  No, I was blasting the Eurythmics at earsplitting and singing along with Annie and David.

I ran into the rain, in between turnouts, and it was, as people around these parts say, a frog strangler.

Before I could get to the next turnout, pull over and put the top up, I was soaked to the skin and so cold, my goosebumps had goosebumps.

I find it ironic that the song I was singing at the top of my lungs while driving much faster than the law allows was none other than “Here Comes the Rain Again”.

Coincidence?  I don’t believe in them.

Fate?  Hardly.  What would it have to prove?

Pure ecstasy at driving free and wild with the music loud and getting rained on?

Yep.

That made my night and smoothed over a minor “simply couldn’t be helped” disappointment.

Life.  It often isn’t easy, but if you can live through it, it’s a lot of fun.

rain is one of my favorite things ... it comes just after snowflakes that fall on my nose and eyelashes ...

rain is one of my favorite things … it comes just after snowflakes that fall on my nose and eyelashes …

On the first day of June …

I went to my favorite place … Little Stoney Falls.  Once I got there, however, the parking space was full of cars.  I was in no mood to share MY falls with all these people, so I simply turned around and moved on.

I took the long way around to get there to begin with, for what better way to spend this magnificent day than driving around with the convertible top down and the music playing?  From there, I took the long way around again and wound up in Coeburn, taking the turn for Flag Rock and the High Knob tower.

I lost myself in thoughts and dreams as I drove up the curvy, winding mountain road.  It was one of those perfect days where the sky is blue, the clouds are white, the weather is warm and the light is magnificent.

While I did stop at Flag Rock and was bewitched by the beauty of the mountains, the blooming rhododendron and the sheer beauty of creation, I bypassed the High Knob tower.

There is no longer a tower there and the trees had grown up the last time I visited making the view nearly nonexistent.

I just kept driving.

Over the mountain.

The dirt road in front of me, the dirt road in back of me, the forest on either side and the incredible sky above.

At some point, I did get behind another car and found myself, once it was said and done, covered with a layer of dust.

Small price to pay for driving along with the top down and all of nature surrounding me, filling my head with dreams and images; I was in another place for that space of time.

I ended the day with a stop by the cemetery to talk to Jim about this, that and the other thing.  It seems that my visits there over the past few weeks have done wonders to balance my spirit.

I have things to say and no one, in particular, to say them to.  I talk to the sky, the wind, the grass, the birds … and I talk to him.  Nobody knew me the way he did.  I doubt anyone ever will again.

But that is neither here nor there.

It was a lovely day and I am grateful.

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Wet roads and 18-wheelers …

isn’t my first choice when it comes to driving conditions, but considering what I have found myself driving in from time to time, it also isn’t my last.

I like to drive.

The mindless task of following the road is among my favorite things to do.  It doesn’t matter, really, whether it is barely a ditch carved out of dirt, a steep ribbon of pavement curving and winding into a mountain or long stretches of interstate that seem, at times, to fade into infinity.

My thoughts flow freely, my mind wanders aimlessly and I feel as uninhibited as the birds in the air when I am behind the wheel.  If the weather is so that I can put the convertible top down, the pleasure is multiplied tenfold.

The destination isn’t all that important; going somewhere specific,  heading nowhere in particular or coming home.

It doesn’t matter.

Heading home today from a weekend out of town, it didn’t occur to me to concern myself with the rain falling in torrential sheets, pooling on the already wet road.  It didn’t make me nervous or anxious or fearful … even when coming up behind the tractor-trailers spewing a nearly blinding mist up in the road, it didn’t occur to me.

I figure, at those times, the two choices are to either take my place behind them and suffer the constant barrage of what they throw up from the asphalt or speed up and pass them.

There was something ethereal about the verdant greens along the sides of the interstate, beneath the falling rain.  I had a hard time finding fault as long as I could see the yellow line and, at the same time, take in the sulking, brooding gray of the heavy sky above the greenery and blooming things of late April.

My intentions were to spend today hiking in the Smoky Mountains, however, the weather did not cooperate.  While I don’t mind taking a risk or two to get to the places I wish to see, I’m not going to invite disaster.

Hiking on the wet, steep, rocky trails alone would have been careless and while I have my moments of carelessness, I try not to make a habit of being so on purpose.

I started home in the rain and muck with a song on the radio and the highway stretching out before me.  When I came to the last few miles, a narrow country road (in my mind, “my road”), an offshoot of a country highway, I was stunned.

In the two days I have been gone, it seems that Spring exploded on Big Moccasin; the fields edging up to the base of Clinch Mountain are greener, fuller.  The high grass, dancing in the wind and the wildflowers, now abundant, unfurling their vibrant, colorful blooms without shyness or fear of frost took my breath away.

The sheer magnitude of the beauty of it, of home, of Spring, brought tears to my eyes.

I was reminded, once again, that no matter what I may have seen today had I stayed where I was, it wouldn’t have been any more beautiful than the height of spring in my own back yard.

On a larger scale than the peaks and valleys of Clinch Mountain, perhaps.  But not more beautiful.

It just goes to show that springtime in the mountains, irregardless of which mountains, is a stimulating treat for the senses.  As for the rain … well, nothing smells quite so wonderful as the Spring mountains after a rain, now does it?