There are many reasons to love living in North Carolina.Over the years, I have written about highways and byways, coastland and mountains. Two years ago I wrote about a barrier coast lighthouse with an unforgettable view: A long, thin, white strip of island, a fragile finger of land held tenderly by the surrounding waters.The beach below was a warm, creamy color. Honey-colored sea oats swayed in the breeze against the turquoise sea. It was a ravishing sight, a view for healing the soul.The mountains have been a place of refuge since I first went there, pregnant with our now-22-year-old son. Frequently, I long for the time to drive west, to hide myself in the mountain ridges undulating across the sky.The Blue Ridge is home to crystalline waterfalls, lacy patterns of rhododendrons, and valleys with bright red wildflowers. To be in the mountains is nothing short – for me, anyway – of resting in the palm of divinity.What of my home, the Piedmont?A golden glow falls across the Piedmont every fall. As August draws to a close, I begin looking out at the leaves arcing across my window, just outside my home office. I am waiting for that golden light to arrive.When it does, the five-fingered leaves of the gumball tree will gather that light and turn a translucent, clear green. The leaves on that tree will look like bright, lime-colored stars in the sky.Fall is my favorite season here. The sky grows clearer. The leaves fairly explode with color. North Carolina’s trees invented fireworks of a far more lasting sort than we know from our transitory, human celebrations.After a couple of months of a wet and gray winter, I walk outside every year to rediscover a miracle. In February, crocus and the tiny points of daffodil leaves will never fail to emerge shyly from the earth each year. They will usher in the spring, a season of abandon, a profusion of pink and red, yellow and purple and white.Every year since this column’s life began 19 years ago, I have written in September about my magnolia tree.I owe her a debt, after all, since she was the topic of my very first column. She gave me this part of my life. For that reason, she receives my attention in print every year, on or near our anniversary.She is a veritable queen in my garden after nearly 20 years. I like to believe she knows how loath I am to harm one limb of her lovely, leafy body.I never do even the most mundane of tasks – from washing dishes to putting away the laundry – without looking out the window to appreciate her grace. I never go outside to get the mail or leave for work without feeling the intense and quiet satisfaction her beauty gives me.She, too, tells me the seasons. She prepares the red-dotted cones in the fall that will shine when all else is murky and gray in winter. She will house and protect birds that fly from her arms to the feeder on the porch. She will burst into wild white blossoms ever summer.She is one reason to love life in North Carolina.
Friday, Sep. 20, 2013
19 years later, magnolia in Concord yard radiates beauty, grace
Barbara Thiede is a freelance writer. Have a story idea for Barbara? Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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