The cold bites my skin as I step outside. I smile a little, welcoming my old friend Jack Frost. I watch my breath in the crisp air as I make my way to my car.
The engine roars to life at the turn of the key, cold and resentful of the temperature. The frost on the windshield glistens slightly as the lights from the house play across its surface.
I retrieve the ice scraper from the back seat and make quick work of the windshield and mirrors.
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A few miles down the road, the engine now warm and purring, I wind up the mountain. The fog is already rising, not content to linger for all hours of the morning as it did through the summer months.
The sky is turning from shades of blue and purple to hues of red and pink. The trees are exhibiting peak color, their oranges and yellows contrasting the changing colors in the sky.
As I wind along the two-lane highway, the trees and leaves form a golden tunnel obscuring the sky. It is growing steadily lighter as I climb higher. The sun must be nearly topping the mountains that are hiding it.
As the road reaches the top, the tunnel of trees thins and the sky opens up above. A light, clear blue with patches of bright pink and orange toward the horizon of the rising sun greets me. The big ball of light has nearly broken free of the mountain that is still concealing it.
The road dips down into the trees again for a mile or two. I gun it forward, increasing speed so that I can catch those first rays of sun a few moments sooner. The trees begin to thin again as the road rises in elevation. Suddenly everything around me is alive with color.
The rays of sun have broken over the mountain top. They kiss the autumn leaves ‘good morning’. The hills light up with color. The mist even catches the light as it twists and spirals out of the hollers. The sun has awoken the mountains. I smile, thankful for the beauty of nature that surrounds me.
Almost heaven, West Virginia.
|Bear Rocks, Dolly Sods Wilderness; copyright Liz Stout 2011|