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I am a simple country girl who loves life and lives it to the fullest. I cook for one of the greatest families ever. Cooking is my passion and I consider it as well to be my gift.

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Sunday, March 21, 2010

JO'S PICNIC by Jo Carpenter

Jo Carpenter Oh, Adele, (and all her followers), this question caught me off guard, and in a mood to write a melancholy tale...so here it comes...I apologize for the length of it...I hope you don't have these comments on SMS feed or your are gonna get one heck of a long text message...

Jo's Picnic: I step slowly up the steep mountain meadow on the ... See Moreshoulder of Elk Mtn. in Western Avery County. At 3500' I want to stop and admire the view but I do not, knowing that a better view awaits me even higher...like it's a dessert in my picnic basket that I haven't earned yet. I stop, mop my brow with a ragged red bandana to staunch the flow of sweat from turning my light blue shirt to a darker hue, and trudge on. This mountain has beaten me before, and anyone watching can see I am almost beaten by this slope again. I climb, breathless, my lungs stinging clean, but then I finally crest the last hill to the summit. I exhale, close my eyes briefly then open them to the signature of the expanse and to inhale the symphony of the panorama; Mt. Mitchell and the Black Mtns. to the SW; Table Rock and the lip of Linville Gorge to the east; the dark profile of Grandfather to the NE; and the beautiful Hump Mtn and Balds of the Roan to the West. I have no blanket. The grass is my cushion this day. I collapse under the old tree on the summit to rummage and paw around in my backpack until I find my lunch...a small bit of curried potato salad, 10 grapes, 4 slices of sharp white cheddar cheese, a few Mongolian grilled green beans and the bota bag half full of light red wine. Here I eat. Drink. Digest. Nap. I dream I am floating on the air currents in lazy circles with the hawks. I see wild things in the shadows that to others were a mystery; then I am awakened by the sun's last rays and a light but chilly breeze. I sit up, pull my fleece jacket about me and think of all the regrets...but I have none. I have hurdled fear. Risked change. I have come home. Home... to a solitary place where I have found company within the mountains of my youth...where I once explored every thread and fold of mother nature's gown. I sit long into the night and strain to see all that can be seen in the moonlight... watching one ragged white ruffle of foam follow another and another, chasing into so much darkness. The cloud cover clears and stars shower me in light. It is time to return to the world below. A world where adults worry and tease dollar bills out of the trees, a place where all I want to do is live the life of a child pretending to be a frog. A clap of thunder off to the west startles me back to reality. My picnic is long over. I pack up and press my feet into the ground, back down the mountain slope. If it rains, I will imagine shelter. If the wind howls, I will howl back. I still have the moon to the east, if for only a brief while...a white button on the velvet night sky that will guide me as long as it can. This, this is the shape of my life. I will not hurry the horizon. I pause, reach my hand skyward, and grasp the handle of the Big Dipper... a constellation that I have always depended on to quench my thirst for a pattern.

1 comment:

  1. this is amazing, Jo. And a story I will read over and over when I sick and lonesome for my mountains. thank you. :)