Category Archives: driving

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.

image

image

image

Advertisements

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.

image

She took me to my falls many, many times.

image

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

image

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

image

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

image

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

image

OBX again …

image

and again.

image

She took my girls with me many times …

image

      many times.

Yes, I’m very happy to have her back.

Very happy, indeed.

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)

A snowy creeksnowyrocks_jan2014-53

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.

Last night, or early this morning …

in the wee hours, however you look at it, I visited my late husband’s grave.

Yes, myself, a proclaimed chicken, was in the darkened graveyard with only a  flashlight, my phone and a blanket to sit on.

There is no cell service there, but my music is on my phone, and having that was imperative to my visit.

The music.

My car is out of commission at the moment, so I took my mom’s car.  It was ok, but I really missed being able to put the top down and feel the heaviness of the cloudy, brooding sky above me.

I was feeling broody, manic and a bit discombobulated … much like the sky above me.

Starless.

Moonless.

Dark.

I know that, for the most part, I am misunderstood.  Only a handful of people understand me, or say they do …  and even those … well, sometimes I wonder if they really do and why they bother in the first place.

I know how I am, how I can be and I live with it.

I don’t expect others to.

I don’t count on them to.

It has been nearly four years since he left without saying good-bye.

He isn’t the first to leave without saying good-bye, but at least death is a reasonable excuse.

At our wedding, while a lone bagpiper was winding his way through the cemetery where he (my late husband, not the bagpiper)  is now buried, I had Annie’s song played.

I hadn’t given that song to anyone before or since.

It was his.

Now, it is mine.

I played it at his grave last night when I told him goodbye.

I’m not going back.

I don’t want to go back.

I want to move on.

I want to sleep at night.

I don’t want to sleepwalk.

I don’t want to dream.

I want days that are not filled with uncertainty and second guessing myself.

I want to be able to look at myself in the mirror and not think hateful things.

I want loyalty and friendship and peace of mind.

I want to be free.

I told him that, at his grave, where he really isn’t anyway.

He would, were he here, say without malice as he did many times, that it was my Sagittarian spirit coming out … the plain speech and tell it like it is even if it hurts mentality.

I guess I do.

I don’t expect that to change.

I want to be free, but I think I said that already.

I don’t think that is too much to ask.

To be free.

Isn’t that what everyone wants?

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.

dogsflowersflagrockgoats-97

dogsflowersflagrockgoats-101

dogsflowersflagrockgoats-115

dogsflowersflagrockgoats-130

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?