October 31, 2009
Our first day “on the rocks,” I gasped as I peered behind me, once high enough to see the view from my cliff perch. We had chosen the most perfect of days, with unseasonable warmth and sunshine that had baked the side of the mountain long enough to leave the climb significantly more pleasant than my last icy-fingered effort. And the hour in which we finished the route provided a breathtaking sunset finale–a virtual paradise of North Carolina countryside from our birds eye view high on the mountain. It is an exquisite sensation, a mixture of fear, awe, and child-like glee, to realize that you are suspended hundreds of feet up in the air. At one point I joked, pretending to be about to let go, saying “Look Ma, no hands!” J, in turn, teased that this was one view, peering down at me from above, with the valley directly below, that he would not want my Mother to see.
Consequently, I have no visual aid for you all :-) Mind you, I am inspired to look for a suitably portable camera, after several experiences so far in which I longed to show the world the beauty that I was witness to at the time.
But this story does not end with the beauty. It is a more well-rounded account, as the next day of the trip proved significantly less triumphant. On Day 2, the mountain won the battle, in that I summited only one of the intended 3 pitches of that particular climb. Finally, after multiple efforts to master one set of holds, I gave up. My fingers were numbed by the shady chill of the day’s route, my arms weakened by numerous attempts, and my body shaken by the fright of a fall that had come as such a surprise that I was not aware enough to utter my normal “Falling!” warning. And so, finally, as tears sprung to my eyes, I admitted with finality that I just couldn’t do it, that I had to let go. It came as a bit of a shock to me that I took it so hard, in fact. Intellectually, I knew that I may not be able to do all that we hoped to do. But mentally, the act of surrendering to the mountain proved to be so much more humbling that I could have anticipated.
But you know, when all is said and done, my frustration did not take away from the satisfaction at days end. Somehow my spirits were still calm and content at the end of the day. I wonder if that is in some manner due to the fact that it was Creation, in all its glory, that defeated me; if I think about it in that sense, it is no wonder that I cannot begrudge such an awesome defeat.
October 25, 2009
As I walked to the lake this afternoon, eager to soak up a bit of the sun’s surprise rays, I was noticing how brilliant the colours were, all around. I couldn’t help but marvel at the odd loveliness of the canoes, out of season now, with their complementary hues. Even the turned leaves behind the boats match, in yellows and reds, as if human and divine creations were choosing to act together to form a natural work of art.
October 20, 2009
I had just enough time this afternoon to follow a “Covered Bridge” sign that had been tempting me for quite a while now–camera in tow, of course. It proved to be a highly satisfactory detour and also provided an occasion for me to have a bit of photographic fun with the result . . . can anyone tell what I did?
P.S. The correct guesser wins a prize
P.S.S. I retain the right to be biased as to what sort of prize to bestow, depending upon the identity of the prize winner :-)
October 18, 2009
By the time I had maneuvered my way, this afternoon, through what seemed to be the entire state’s population of vehicles centralized into one small town’s Main Street, I was slightly less inclined to get excited about the sea of pumpkins that were drawing such a crowd. As a result, I had to laugh when I spotted this little fellow: he seemed to be blazing his own trail of interest, ignoring the prize-winner behind him so that he could peer into this jack-o-lantern . . . presumably looking for the “treat” that he knew must be hidden therein :-)
October 11, 2009
Weddings being what they are, and family being what it is for my own, I have developed a habit of somewhat obsessively writing about these events when they occur. And in our family, they have occurred with some regularity over the past several years.
Most of my wedding writings have tended towards the more serious side. I’m not sure I can explain this completely, except to say that such ceremonies bring out the “worst” of my sentimental, emotional side. But this day, yesterday, felt different somehow. Perhaps it was due to the fact that we have had the 2 first grandbabies born this past year. Or perhaps it is simply because this is the 3rd brother-wedding in just over a year. But for whatever reason, the day felt a bit more light-hearted. I kept laughing at the funny things that were said and done. Sure there were the meaningful moments that should, and did, occur: father and son shared a King Fu round during one of the dance songs. Mom and Lou danced, another dance in which Lou tenderly supported Mom so that she could enjoy the experience . . . And yet, even the “serious” moments tended towards a bit of levity: the bride and groom’s first kiss, for example, was a dramatic, drop-kiss affair. And my brother took his 4-week old daughter out on the dance floor for her first hip-hop groove. Along the dance theme, my brother and I enjoyed bringing a bit of good Southern culture into the mix, leading the crew in a round of “Boot Scootin’ Boogie” [I was actually a bit surprised to discover that I still remembered all the steps, as soon as the rhythm kicked in. Afterwards, his wife noted that, unbeknownst to us, it seems that the 4 of us siblings share a bit of natural rhythm when it comes to the dance floor.
So yes, it was a joyous, festive occasion. And one in which laughter felt like the predominant theme. So along with that theme, I will close with a snippet of a couple quotable moments from the day:
As we line up for the post-ceremony family photos, Alex turns his head from side to side, then circles around, then blurts out rather loudly, “Hey–where’s my baby?”
Walking out to the cars for the wedding-to-reception caravan, Alex looks at Ian and notes, “Hey, brother, you know that tux is pretty slimming on you.” Ian checks himself out in a passing window reflection and replies, “Nah . . . I think it makes my butt look big.”
October 9, 2009
October 6, 2009
October 3, 2009
It has been raining steadily all day, getting harder as the day progresses. So I had just about given up on my longing to capture some more photos of the season’s stunning displays. But then, as we finished dinner, I glanced out the window and noticed that even through the falling rain, the leaves were practically glowing with the setting sun’s reflections. In mid-sentence, I said “Hold that thought,” and dashed out to snag my camera from the car, braving the weather for the sake of the photos.
And here it is, nature at its stunning best, with no need for any sort of photographic touch-ups.