Saturday, January 31, 2009

Doughton State Park, Blue Ridge Parkway, North Carolina 1.11.1996: Luminous Hills, Rested Souls

At Doughton State Park, Blue Ridge Parkway. We’ve not been here quite this late in the fall. I quite like it now. The soft muted colors after the leaves have fallen are restful and healing. They seem to reach right into my soul, in an immediate way.

I don’t know quite how to put the point. It’s as if my soul’s alive in a new way to what previously it could receive only in a mediated way, through thought, reading, reflection, mental processing.

That feels good.

If only one could get beyond oneself, to the soul beneath, or to things as they are, and not as one wishes them to be or thinks they are.

To wit: the scenes before me—I wish I could describe them as they are, as I see (and feel) them now. The sky’s slate gray with heavy low clouds of even darker gray. The slate’s everywhere relieved by bands of lighter gray shading to blue and white.

The hills underneath have that luminous blue quality that earned them their name—luminous from within, as if the soft light they exude comes from deep inside their earthen hearts. Stubble of bare trees—dark and light, intricate chiaroscuro—crowns them.

Closer up, one sees fields, undulant green or spiky red sedge grass. Rock outcroppings mirror the sky both in their color, with its striations like the sky’s, and literally, since they have pools of water reflecting the skies.

Three white-tailed deer we startled in the grass as we walked bounded off, one against the sky on a hilltop, the very embodiment of lithe, graceful abandon.

+ + + + +

Thomas Moore, The Re-Enchantment of Everyday Life: “The genius [of a place] lies deep within, and as Richard Onians suggests in his extraordinary book on Roman ideas about the soul, it can’t be uncovered by conscious thought or explained by literal fact. It requires from us trust in our less rational ways of knowing and in whatever practices of magic we feel comfortable with and capable of performing” (p. 81).

No comments: