I have the good fortune to have friends who own a Christmas tree farm in my beloved Blue Ridge Mountains in western North Carolina. I spent the weekend there with four of my favorite people. Four girlfriends who probably continue to love me because of my flaws rather than in spite of them. A fifth friend was noticeably absent and we missed her and the many laughs she always provides.
I sing John Denver’s “Country Roads” once I get far enough from the city to feel as if I’m really on my way “home.” Sometimes I get funny looks from fellow travelers, but I smile at them and keep singing. This country road takes me right to the front door of “Grandma’s” house. She isn’t really my grandma but she’s kind enough to allow me to call her that. She’s actually the matriarch of my friend’s family and the owner of this lovely retreat. She’s the epitome of generosity, always sending us up to her haven in the mountains whenever we can work it into our schedules. Once I get out of the car and see the tree sign in the photo above, I know I’m really home.
When I’m in the mountains I love to wander and wonder. Now that I’m blogging, I always take my phone or my camera and look for photo-worthy subjects. There are many — up, down, and all around. I found this thistle gone-to-seed growing beside a little barn. I think I snapped it because it looks like my hair when I get up in the morning. Does that mean I’ve gone to seed too? I’m saying no to that because I found this still-blooming thistle and I gotta tell you — I like the old one better. All her bits of fluff can drift in the wind and land on fertile ground like Grammy’s bits of wisdom coming to rest in the fecund minds of her grandchildren. I know, I’m still a dreamer after all these years, but I believe that some of those gentle reminders really do take root and can grow until they are something fine and wonderful.
I took these shots in the late afternoon on Friday. It was a glorious sunny day with lots of fluffy white clouds, along with a few dark afternoon-shower clouds. But the showers skipped us. The tree in the foreground is a Fraser fir waiting for Christmas. Well, I think it’s a Fraser. Tree experts, feel free to correct me if I’m wrong.