This month I journeyed to my mountain house in North Carolina.  The clouds overhead were thick and gray and I hoped to get to my destination before the rain hit. I hate driving in the rain. When the rain falls, my hands tighten around the steering wheel and my shoulders tense. It’s just a miserable, slow trip.  As I passed the border from South to North Carolina I think I might just make it.

 

At last, I exit the highway and my body sags in relief as I wind along the curving mountain roads at a slower pace.  I take in the changes in the scenery up in the mountains.  It’s still deep winter and I don’t come north often in this season so I’m curious to see the broad expansive views of mountains often cloaked by heavy foliage. I think about stopping at my favorite coffee shop as I pass.  A heady, steaming brew would be nice after the long drive, but I push on. Covid discourages my getting out of the car, but too, I’m eager to get home. I recognize a few of my favorite farms. See a few horses in the fields.

 

My dogs have been asleep in the back seat for the past several hours. I hear a rustling in the back seat as Vega, the Bernese Mountain Dog, rises lugubriously to look out the window. Cosmo and Luna, my King Charles Spaniels, follow suit and from the front I hear their excited pants. How do they know we are getting close, I wonder? Have their bodies memorized the twists and turns of the road? Or are they picking up on the excitement thrumming in my own veins?

 

Because I feel like them, looking out the windows expectantly, my heart rate accelerating. I think of the line in the John Denver song, “I should’ve been home yesterday.” Now I see cross the river…my river… and see the mountain…my mountain… and finally the big wooden gates of Windover, yawning open now in wide welcome.

 

The car churns and groans in low gear as we climb the mountain driveway to the house. I note the condition of the road, the stone wall covered with moss, see where tree limbs have fallen. No spring buds yet but there’s beauty in the gray stillness. Then I see the sienna-colored roof tiles and my face breaks into a grin. There’s my cottage in the trees, stone and stucco, white and brown, with yellow light flowing from the windows.

 

I park the car and the great engine settles. The miles still roll in my veins. Taking a breath, I push open the car door and am met by an icy moist air that both chills and refreshes me. I open the back door and Vega leaps like a lion to the ground, landing on huge paws, then runs in joyful laps. Yapping and pacing, the cavaliers paw at the crate until, set free, they chase the big black dog across the icy grass.

 

That’s when the first snow begins to fall. Big, fat, soft flakes, a few at first then a stead swirling mass that float in the breeze like feathers. Snow! I hadn’t seen snow in several years. It is so unexpected. So beautiful. The snow is a gift. I lift my face to the sky and feel each flake on my skin like a kiss. I stretch out my arms and begin to twirl with wonder. I am the character in Edward Scissorhands, awash in wonder. All the miles, the worries, the pending work, and decisions, slide away in the centrifugal force of joy.

 

An hour later the snow stopped and there was no sign left of the surprise snow. But even still, as I write these words, my smile breaks into a grin and my heart dances in memory.

 

13 Comments

  1. Angela Halfacre on February 9, 2021 at 5:46 pm

    Mary Alice-As I sit here in Lexington, SC, missing my hometown of Greenville, and the mountains that always seemed so close, your blog post made me smile!! It is so sad that we often don’t appreciate something as simple as snow , until we rarely see it anymore! Your description was exactly what my soul needed! Thank you!! Angela (“Lovie”) Halfacre

    • Mary Alice Monroe on February 9, 2021 at 9:44 pm

      Thank you Angela! By the way, very cool last name!

  2. Jill Derrick on February 9, 2021 at 5:49 pm

    Beautiful blog and we have been blessed a few times in our new home in Tn. So glad you could enjoy the beauty of the snow in the mountains. We live 20 mts from Smoky Mountain National Park . We go almost every week somewhere in the park. So glad we moved closer.

    • Mary Alice Monroe on February 9, 2021 at 9:47 pm

      How incredible to live so close to the national park! And how wonderful that you make time to explore the park often. What a beautiful place to live, Jill!

  3. Carla on February 9, 2021 at 8:08 pm

    Beautifully written and I felt that I was right there with you.

    • Mary Alice Monroe on February 9, 2021 at 9:43 pm

      Thank you, Carla!

  4. Jo Ann Eudy on February 9, 2021 at 10:58 pm

    That was a wonderful little tale. I would love to see some snow. There’s just nothing like it. It just doesn’t happen that often on Sullivan’s Island. I’ve been thinking of heading north the next time I hear there’s a chance of snow.

    • Mary Alice Monroe on February 16, 2021 at 11:38 pm

      You’re right. Snow on the islands is a rare sight.

  5. Robin Pavia on February 11, 2021 at 6:21 pm

    Love listening your your words on paper! I love all or your books and am always waiting for your next one?

    • Mary Alice Monroe on February 16, 2021 at 11:37 pm

      Thank you, Robin!

  6. Lisa Slaughter on February 11, 2021 at 8:29 pm

    What a wonderful moment to share . Thank you Mary Alice. Enjoy the mountains.

  7. Kathie Thompson on February 17, 2021 at 9:57 am

    You’ve painted a beautiful picture of your arrival at your mountain home and definitely captured the sense of serenity you must feel when you retreat there. The snow was definitely an added blessing for you. Enjoy your time there. Are you working a new book while there?

    • Mary Alice Monroe on February 17, 2021 at 10:20 am

      A blessing indeed. And yes, I’m happy to say I’m working on a new book.

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