Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - 8

F

From the
Farm

Text and photo by Elizabeth Hunter

A Trick of the Light
IN TRUTH, LIGHT DOES WHAT IT DOES WITHOUT GUILE OR INTENT,
BUT WITH THE ABILITY TO ILLUMINATE PIECES OF OUR LIVES.
THERE ARE TIMES OF THE YEAR when I
walk every day. Summer isn't one of
them, nor is early fall. But a couple
days before the end of September, I
resumed walking - for about a week.
What stopped me was the need to
take care of my yard.
"I feel as though I have spent the
entire fall pulling stilt grass," I said to
a friend. He looked surprised, but his
wife nodded. "I've pulled a ton of it
too," she said. Stilt grass is the tsunami currently flooding our mountains, or one of them. It is
transforming our roadsides into
monocultural bores to look at until it
dies back in October, right after it
goes to seed. I had been away for half
of September, when I should have
been pulling stilt grass. So I had to do
it in October if I were to do it at all. I
wanted it in the compost pile before
wind winnowed the seed and spread
it into what few corners of my universe remained unbesieged.
But pulling stilt grass in October
was foolishness masquerading as
good husbandry. No matter how
much of it I pulled, I finally realized, it
would be back with a vengeance next
spring. Furthermore, this exercise in
futility had deprived me of something
important. With my head down
instead of up, I'd lost the thread of
fall's plot. It wasn't entirely my fault.
No crimsons and brilliant oranges
drew my eye on my occasional trips to
town. This was a season of muted
color, autumn sneaking by rather than
knocking us upside the head.
I've been walking the same threemile out-and-back route from my
front door to the Lunday Road for
decades. By the time I returned to my
daily walks, the days were noticeably
shorter. The sun described a lower arc.
In late afternoon, it was backlighting
what color remained, but I was dis-

8 | BlueRidgeCountry.com

For about 90 seconds, the rising sun highlighted objects on a table - a friend's
chrysanthemums, candles, miniature pumpkins and a blue glass bowl.

mayed to see how much I'd missed.
My favorite sugar maple was almost
bare, the leaves beneath it fading
from yellow to brown. A young forest
of tulip poplars had achieved its
November look. The crowns of the

beeches were singed; the oaks, still
entirely green when I'd quit walking
two weeks earlier, were developing
burgundy streaks. At my turnaround
spot, a young tulip poplar denuded of
leaves exposed a huge paper nest that


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Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014

Cover
Table of Contents
Letters/Worth a Click
From the Editor
Creature Feature
From the Farm
Great Home Buys
Digital Help Guide
Mountain Report
The Hike
Festivals & Events
Mountain Curios: Racing Lawn Mowers
Mountain Curios: Stamping Out Squirrel Sex!
Mountain Curios: A Library as Big as a Breadbox?
Mountain Curios: Mill from 1794 Still Turns!
Mountain Curios: Indian Mounds in Downtown!
Travel Guide 2014: A Year of Great Festivals!
The Blue Ridge Parkway Photoessay
Travel Guide 2014: A Foodie's Dream Journey
Travel Guide 2014: The Retro Pilgrimage
Wilderness Institute in the Smokies
Mountain Garden
Cabin in the Woods: Royal Oaks Retreat
Guest Column
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - Intro
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - Cover
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - Cover2
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - Table of Contents
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - 4
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - Letters/Worth a Click
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - From the Editor
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - Creature Feature
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - From the Farm
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - 9
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - Great Home Buys
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - 11
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - 12
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - Digital Help Guide
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - Mountain Report
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - 15
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - The Hike
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - 17
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - Festivals & Events
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - 19
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - 20
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - 21
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - 22
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - Mountain Curios: Racing Lawn Mowers
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - Mountain Curios: Stamping Out Squirrel Sex!
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - Mountain Curios: A Library as Big as a Breadbox?
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - Mountain Curios: Mill from 1794 Still Turns!
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - Mountain Curios: Indian Mounds in Downtown!
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - Travel Guide 2014: A Year of Great Festivals!
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - 29
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - 30
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - 31
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - 32
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - 33
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - The Blue Ridge Parkway Photoessay
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - 35
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - 36
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - 37
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - Travel Guide 2014: A Foodie's Dream Journey
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - 39
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - 40
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - 41
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - 42
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - 43
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - 44
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - 45
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - 46
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - 47
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - Travel Guide 2014: The Retro Pilgrimage
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - 49
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - 50
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - 51
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - 52
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - 53
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - Wilderness Institute in the Smokies
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - 55
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - 56
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - 57
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - 58
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - Mountain Garden
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - 60
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - 61
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - Cabin in the Woods: Royal Oaks Retreat
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - 63
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - 64
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - 65
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - Guest Column
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - Cover3
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - Cover4
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