Saturday, September 27, 2014

OF AUTUMN MISTS AND HIDDEN VALLEYS

Here is a little something to feed your muse on this Saturday morning.  A small gift of inspiration from my time of living where nature and art collide in the highlands of West Virginia.



 Autumn Mists and Hidden Valleys


There is nothing like the mists of Autumn, in the Appalachians, especially up in the Potomac Highlands of West Virginia.  There you can watch the cold damp mist roll in over the mountains, wiping out the high peaks in her white cloak so that the views become blunted.  Even the valleys below take on a Monet-ish tone as they become muted in the dimmed light of the dank and damp day.

The ribbon of asphalt that occasionally crisscrosses these majestic tree covered mounds of rock and clay winds you through deep valleys, and creases between the hills.  Often you find yourself driving along a ledge of rock, teetering above a sheer abyss, praying that a log truck won’t be hurling itself at you around the next blind corner.  You are torn between watching the ever-winding road and craning your neck to see the wonders spread out around you --- just wishing that there was someplace to pull off so you could get out and stand and look.  Suddenly, at the next sharp curve up the mountain, there is break in the the mist and the splendor of the sun bursts upon the scene.  The very tops of the mountains float like islands on the sea of clouds, with a brilliant blue sky above. 

It is here that the first fingers of Autumn show their glory as the leaves have already started to turn the bright colorful hues that bring flocks of visitors to the area year after year.  Evident already are shades of yellow, red, orange, gold, and deep maroon.  The wild apples have ripened and the golden and bright red orbs hang from the trees.  There are piles of over ripened fruit scattered below the trees waiting for the local wild life to feast upon.  The bushes are covered in bright berries for the picking and between the trees and in the meadows you can still see the full racked buck or doe with her fawn feeding upon the wild grain in the fields. 



Every day the color increases in its intensity and breadth of luminosity.  Progressively, the mornings bring a sharper bite to the air.  With the coming days the V’s of the passing flocks will pass overhead as the great Canadian Geese migrate south and the meadows slowly empty of the summer’s local fowl as they join the migration to warmer climates.  Soon all that is left is the empty feeders, hanging with the remnants of summer’s seed.  The flowers of the garden hang on, the last tenuous blossoms continuing to bloom—fewer and smaller, but still determined to feel the kiss of the sun.

There are also days that the mists of Autumn flee the highlands and valleys.  The sun comes out in her majesty and sprays her own special sparkle to the colors of the mountains.  With the dropping evening temperatures, the trees continue change in color and grow bolder in hue, the mountains burst into flame and the glow with the sunsets, setting the world on fire.  Even grandma’s best patchwork quilts cannot hold up their heads next to the glory and color of these magnificent hills. 

Words may try to paint a picture.  A Camera may try to capture a moment, but only a trip to this enchanting land during the ripening days of fall can allow to bask in the glory of what it is to experience the Autumn Mists and Hidden Valleys in the Appalachians.