By Sarah West
A luminous prism of apricot light slips passed the curtain. The rising sun draws diagonal patterns across the room as I awaken on a cold late February morning. I pull the curtain back, and the room pulses with light. Mountains reflect in a watercolor landscape hanging opposite the window where I sit to pen down early thoughts. Traffic slows along Interstate 26 bending and winding northbound o’er the blue western North Carolina ridges, while icy currents carry forth at their usual pace caressing the banks of the French Broad River. This is Monday morning rush hour.
I take coffee and a warm croissant with me as I walk through the forest. Stone borders, evergreen boughs, ivy envelopes the largest trees and blankets the earth. I look up before I look down and I wonder if the tree minds this invasive neighbor, and what toll might this friendship take on the towering centurion, whose branches bend under weighted drapery. Silent pathways, empty garden scapes, the pebbles crunch beneath my steps as tulips emerge, lifting new soil and mulch. In just four weeks, they will paint a carpet over their domain. Rose beds are pruned. Secret garden benches are empty. I savor these walks as I meditate amid the winter landscape, still cold and gnarly. From grey branches, buds protrude announcing soon pink and lavender blooms. Yellow thickets undulate alongside terrace steps and hilly cascades. The koi at water’s surface nods his head, and lazily opens his mouth as his butterfly-like fins flutter about in the dull pond water. His slippery scales reflect the sky, facets of topaz and violet. A small fish, a streak of cadmium red swims by.
The door creaks as I turn the knob and press with all my might. The heavy door, a century old, yields and I step inside.
Window panes sweat, and water beads drip and blur the world outside. Conservatory steam warms winter’s chill and provides place for tropical life and those who crave sunlight. Moss of chartreuse, orchids and exotic plant life thrive.
I meander down familiar paths and take the time to explore a few I haven’t known. Late winter’s hush performs overture for nature’s resurgence.