Thursday, July 7, 2011

Mountains, Clouds, Blogs & Being Passionate

We are famous for "Blasting Off" for a road trip on the absolute spur of the moment.  So when we got up on July 4th, stuck our arms outside to test the temperature (Hot) and humidity (Muggy) and considered that we had no coherent plan (again) for the July 4th Holiday, it was a lock that a Road Trip was imminent.  As in, immediately.

We went to the Blue Ridge Parkway last year and were delighted to find that even in August, the temperatures were lovely.  Not to mention that the view from the Pisgah Inn, on top of Mt. Pisgah, can be awe-inspiring when the clouds move in.   A quick call confirmed that they had two rooms left, and that there was a cold front coming.  After arranging for the room on the top floor (of course!) we roared out of town.

Upon arrival, we stepped out of the car to mist, clouds, and 64 degrees Fahrenheit, a solid 30 degrees cooler than the Coast!!  First thing I did was flee to the gift shop to purchase a sweatshirt.  With the forest still dripping after the storm, we slid through the foliage just to get wet and be chilly.  So refreshing, so lush! After a lovely dinner overlooking the valley below, we watched fireworks that were far, far below, then drifted to sleep under two blankets...

Next morning, this was the view from our balcony.  (I decided to do my photographs in Black and White for once)

Although the sun was brilliant, the clouds were gathering across the way.

Looking the other way, there was a stately old tree skeleton decorating the Horizon...

Two Winters ago, the temperatures were so frigid on the mountain that many trees simply died of the cold.  We were told that when the workers arrived to open the hotel for the Spring Season, it took over a week to clear all the fallen trees off the Parkway so that they could get to the hotel.  The forest is dotted now with these ghostly skeletons, which have a beauty of their own.

 After a vigorous morning of hiking for my husband, reading for me, and lunch, the storm clouds began to move in swiftly:

This is what I love about being on top of the mountain - you are literally residing in the clouds.
Since our balcony looked South, I was protected from the wind and rain, and could watch the storm in cozy safety.

You can see the swirl of the updrafts...

 The storm took its time, which was fine with me since I had a ringside seat to watch something that few people ever get to see - I could have watched all afternoon.

And then,  the storm gathered her skirts and marched off to the South:

You can see the steam already beginning to rise from the Valley in certain spots...

 I wanted to walk through the remnants of the clouds and feel the cool air, so I set off with my camera - and found so many happy plants, and  so many happy critters drinking down the raindrops!

After seeing all of this, walking in the clouds, and sleeping in the mists, I can hardly wait to get back in the studio and create something!

I spent my time on the mountain top resting, reading, and remembering how to See what I am looking at - a skill I quickly forget when Life intervenes.  But, this time, I was helped out not only by our trip to the Mountains, I was also inspired by a new Blog I found quite by accident while searching the internet for postings by Japanese writers.  I found Keiko, a story- teller from Nara, Japan.  And One Time One Meeting is her blog. 

Her inner eye is wide open and engaged, and her readers are treated to lovely photography which she uses to support her history and cultural lessons - which she is Passionate about.  My shoulders always come down from their perch up around my ears when I read her posts.  And I stop being guilty about being Passionate.  Because if one isn't, then why bother?

Now, I'm off to create something!     

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