A Rare Night Out

Day 239

IMG_0042My husband has been looking forward to going to the North Carolina Arboretum for their new ArborEvenings on Thursday evenings. After a long day staring at the computer screen, I was ready for a break.

Tonight they had music by a local duo, Liz and Elizabeth. We were looking forward to a night to just get away for a bit.

It was a warm evening, and the mosquitos were out in full force as were the gnats. The Japanese Iris in the collage below is covered with little tiny insects, too.

The Arboretum is a wonderful collection of gardens and trails just south of Asheville. During ArborEvenings, the gates are open until 9:00 pm and the gardens are lit. The last Thursday of every month they have live music.

We walked around the garden and then went up toward the education center where they had drinks and light food for purchase and of course music. We grabbed a BBQ sandwich and a bottle of water and just listened to music for a while.

Tonight’s event was sponsored by Asheville Beer Week (which I never knew existed). We bought bottled water to drink rather than opting for beer or wine since we were driving. I got a kick out of the marketing on the labels of the bottled water.

Liz and Elizabeth were really enjoyable. I liked their melodious harmonies and loved the violin and guitar together. I am attaching a clip from their YouTube channel, but I enjoyed their music so much more live. It was a nice eclectic mix of country, folk and their own brand of acoustic music. I even found some new music I had never heard before and that is always a plus.

All in all, it was a good night to get out for a bit. It was one of those nights we just needed a few minutes to just walk through the gardens, enjoy the flowers and listen to some music. Not a bad way to spend a late spring evening and something we need to do more often.




A Much Needed Walk in the Woods

Day 120

What a gorgeous day! Our temperatures climbed into the mid-’60s. We decided it was time to take our daily walk a little north. We have a membership for the North Carolina Arboretum, so we decided to go to Asheville and get some fresh air.

We dressed in layers not knowing how the temperature would be. As we drove into the Arboretum we noticed the Blue Ridge Parkway was closed — most likely due to remaining snow and ice or downed trees. Ice was evident on the drive in. Temperatures were running about 5 degrees cooler than at home.

We stopped by the office and picked up a trail map, grabbed our hiking sticks and some water then headed out on a short three-mile hike. The trails are well maintained although a little muddy today from melting ice and snow.

Our walk was leisurely — not our usual push. It was nice to have the changing terrain and places to stop and take photos. The surroundings reflect a different beauty when the trees are bare. It’s amazing to think it is only 46 days until the first day of spring. Before we realize it, the buds will start to appear on the trees and my redbud trees and dogwood trees will start to escort spring in and winter out.

The trails we chose today were easy to moderate but so refreshing. We walked a good bit by the creek. The sound of the moving water takes me back to my youth. The trails are lined with rhododendron and there are lots of nice stops along the way should you need to rest. There was still plenty of evidence of ice alongside the edges of the water as you can see at the end of the following video.

We got a little dirty, but all in all, it was a really great afternoon to be outside and enjoying our little slice of heaven. The view coming off the trail was stunning. I loved the clouds allowing a peek of the sky over the distant mountain peak. This is the kind of view that allows me to breathe in deeply and relax.


All in all, it was a great day to be alive.


What a Beautiful Day

Day 63

This was absolutely a beautiful day. It was cool this morning — in the 30s — but it warmed up to 45 degrees F this afternoon and it is now dropping back into the 30s. These cool days are often so crisp and clear everything looks so pristine and beautiful.

My Ancestors

My ancestors all came from Ireland and England with a few scattered hither and yon. After arriving in the states on various ships they eventually settled in the Carolinas. I cannot imagine what life was like back then and how hard it must have been to decide where to go and where a living could be made.

IMG_7935On days like this, as I drive and see the mountains appear in the distance, I can only imagine what it was like to travel at the time of my ancestors. So many people traveled great distances by foot or by horseback. I can only imagine what it was like to see the Blue Ridge or Appalachian mountains rise in front of you as you approach on foot or on horseback. Wow.

I think about what this part of the country looked like before there were roads or power poles or cell towers or buildings. Just the mountains and the sky. It had to be the most stunning sight to see. My ancestors had to be more in touch with the land than we are because they had to choose good places to try to make a home and decide where they could actually survive.

Of course, the things that were done to the Native American population were horrible. That is the terrible part of our history and I cannot be enthusiastic about how strong and brave my ancestors were without acknowledging the horrible things that were done to the native peoples of this great land.

At One With the Land

Earlier today I was perusing some upcoming workshops that I might like to take. One class being offered at the North Carolina Arboretum really caught my interest: Light Pollution, Health, and the Environment. From the course description:

“Embrace the dark. For well over a century, the night sky has been lit with artificial lighting. Until recently, the dramatic impact of light pollution on wildlife, human health, and the environment has been largely underestimated and poorly understood. This class emphasizes the importance of nighttime darkness and the many ways that darkness is necessary for the natural world and our physical, mental and emotional health. We will explore ways to mitigate the effects of light pollution in our homes and local environments and discuss strategies for making homes more “dark friendly,” thereby improving health, saving money and benefitting the environment.”

One of the reasons I moved back here was to get away from the hustle bustle of the larger city life. Too many street lights, too much light pollution, and noise! When we went to Sedona a few years ago the stars were so vibrant in the sky — the way I remembered it as a child. Even though we live rather remotely, there is still a lot of light pollution.

Upcoming Weather

It is looking more and more like we will get some amount of snowfall this weekend. I’m not sure we will know just how much until late tomorrow or Saturday. Right now predictions are in the 8-13 inch range with possible ice before, during and after the snow. We will be tucking in and staying put until the storm passes. Maybe I’ll get those Christmas cards addressed after all!

“Mountains have long been a geography for pilgrimage, place where people have been humbled and strengthened, they are symbols of the sacred center. Many have traveled to them in order to find the concentrated energy of Earth and to realize the strength of unimpeded space. Viewing a mountain at a distance or walking around its body we can see its shape, know its profile, survey its surrounds. The closer you come to the mountain the more it disappears, the mountain begins to lose its shape as you near it, its body begins to spread out over the landscape losing itself to itself. On climbing the mountain the mountain continues to vanish. It vanishes in the detail of each step, its crown is buried in space, its body is buried in the breath. On reaching the mountain summit we can ask, “What has been attained?” – The top of the mountain? Big view? But the mountain has already disappeared. Going down the mountain we can ask, “What has been attained?” Going down the mountain the closer we are to the mountain the more the mountain disappears, the closer we are to the mountain the more the mountain is realized. Mountain’s realization comes through the details of the breath, mountain appears in each step. Mountain then lives inside our bones, inside our heart-drum. It stands like a huge mother in the atmosphere of our minds. Mountain draws ancestors together in the form of clouds. Heaven, Earth and human meet in the raining of the past. Heaven, Earth and human meet in the winds of the future. Mountain mother is a birth gate that joins the above and below, she is a prayer house, she is a mountain. Mountain is a mountain.”

Joan Halifax