Over the weekend we traveled down the eastern side of the Blue Ridge Mountains, part of an ancient backbone, the Appalachian chain abutting central Virginia.
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As the crow flies, it wasn’t too far from Shenandoah National Park’s Swift Run Gap and Skyline Drive. We were guest on private land so I won’t give the exact location like I usually do, but here’s a general map of the area.
The scenery had a timeless quality. No doubt, someone sitting here two hundred and fifty years ago as European settlers carved farms from untamed territory would have seen much the same. The ridge does seem to take on a characteristic blue haze in the distance. The National Park Service credits this to hydrocarbons that trees release into the atmosphere, and that may be the case. I’ve heard similar explanations for the Blue Mountains in Australia which I have also been lucky enough to visit. But on this sweltering humid summer day so common to the area, it may have been more to do with sunlight filtering through moisture-laden air.
Few things could be more relaxing than an Adirondack chair on a shaded porch. Mountain scenery filling the horizon, cooling breezes rolling along hillsides and through the valleys, a bottle of wine from a local vineyard conveniently perched nearby. Birds and cicadas serenaded the pastures while crickets and a bullfrog down the hollow chimed in as the sun set. Fireworks popped in the valley several miles away once it got dark. This last part was rather odd since the Fourth of July happened a week earlier. Somehow it seemed appropriate, though.
It’s a moment that I wish I could have frozen in time.