I made it down the mountain yesterday. It has been four days since my driveway was negotiable. The first trip (made at the desperate plea of my house guest) was a little sketchy, especially getting back up, but by late in the afternoon, the "southern" temperatures made travel into town as uneventful as those childhood Sunday drives my father used to take me on.
It was good to get down to the store, pick up my mail and make a deposit at the bank; actually it was good just be out of the house for a while. Not that I suffer from cabin fever, but my temporary guest became unwillingly incarcerated by the snow and elevation and was over-anxious to take advantage of the parole granted by thawing temperatures. I don’t fully understand, but apparently those cylindrical tubes of North Carolinian cash crop that are so desired and cherished as to cause a person to endure subzero wind chills just to inhale their carcinogenic vapor, become the source of nightmarish torture when stranded high in the clouds without a sufficient supply. I am not sure any addiction is an attribute worth pursuing, but one that involves the shredding of castoffs from an ashtray in order to hand roll a tobacco doobie, is a bit more than I could personally endure. My guest went home, screaming with delight in a cloud of Marlboro smoke, as soon as the road was passable, so once again the peaceful solitude the Smokys has returned; I think I might venture downtown tonight and see what kinds of trouble I might stir up.
I love living atop a mountain, and yes, the winter weather can be a bit inconvenient at times, but as much as some people look at my situation with disapproving distain, I would not have it any other way. Here I sit in the pre-dawn darkness staring out of my window-wrapped office at the galaxy of twinkling lights of the distant valley thinking how blessed I am. Sure, I am supposed to be working, and yes, that one particular job was promised yesterday, but for the first time this week, I feel relaxed. The stress of an overbooked workweek and the extended, nicotine-starved visitation is over, and this vista of the sleeping village is mesmerizing.
The morning is quiet except for the occasional lowing of cattle pastured at the foot of the grade. That visceral silence arouses the mental noise that for so many people is rattled with worry over money, love, work and taxes, but my noise is different. My noise is the ricochet of words and ideas looking for an outlet to escape my head, only to be recaptured by some anonymous, and hopefully appreciative, reader. There is a short story that needs a great deal of my attention, the novel that is still stuck in the birth canal and another in crying for the diaper change of a serious edit; but I don’t want to awaken my children yet this morning. Oh, and there is this remunerative work from Charleston that is technically tardy, but another few minutes won’t aggravate or rectify that situation.
No, instead I will enjoy the peace, sip my coffee and watch the lights afar pulse with the cosmic radiance of another glorious morning in the mountains.