I returned yesterday from a few days of Thanksgiving in the mountains of North Carolina. I've never seen the house so exposed, without the warm blanket of green the summer lovingly drapes over everything up there. The quiet of November in the mountains is striking. If you stop and listen long enough, you'll hear only the rustling of just a few brave animals who stick it out for the winter. The familiar din of of leaves smacking against one another is long gone; at times the only thing I could discipher was the ringing in my ears. With the noise of life on mute, all that is left is the clanking around of half-thoughts and the occasional appearance of complete sentences that make sense. (Those are the reason I should carry a Moleskine in my pocket.)
I can see why great writers and artists so often retreat away to a cabin in the woods to work on their memoirs, an epic painting or album. The deer will never laugh at your work. (But they will stare with their big eyes, waiting to see whether you're one of the good ones.)
The perfection of creation in Connestee Falls (as in all places where the trees are allowed to mature past the length of a human life) stands in stark contrast to the big box stores and supermarkets on the other end of the highway that brings you there. The Walmart in Brevard stands out awkwardly from its backdrop of the Blue Ridge mountains. Who invited this monstrosity to the nature party? But of course, we went there. Because it's the only store within 50 miles that sells essentials like cheap Cheerios and black fuzzy slippers on Thanksgiving day. Speaking of which, have you read this?
I've been trying to think of what I'm thankful for this year, other than the Creator and the Creation, my husband and the rest of my beloved, ragamuffin family. What else belongs?