Snapshot with Words

It’s a good sign when you’ve lived someplace for more than seven years and you still find yourself pulling over on the side of the road to look at something beautiful. Last month it was the Black Mountains skirted in fog. This morning, it was the light of late sunrise, clear enough to crack like glass. Driving down the mountain, I hadn’t even hit hardtop before being taken aback by the view.
There they were, textured gray trunks of tulip poplar and white oak, maple and sassafras, pointing skyward into the light that bathed them. The slopes of Fork Mountain come down at a particular angle on this part of the road, and the sunlight poured through at its own angle, creating a second forest of long, thin shadows cast in near perfect stripes across the duff-littered mountain face.
It never occurred to me to take a photograph. The trees, the sunlight, even the chattering calls of wren and chicadee in the background are at once fleeting and expected; a daily paradox. Every morning I drive down the same mountain. Every morning, so far in this life, the sun rises. And every morning humankind flits about this tiny planet like so many fruit flies on an apple. The challenge is not taking the photograph for a keepsake, but living in a way that assures that angle of the mountain, that clarity of morning light, that chorus of bird calls will be there many eons after we are gone.
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After fielding several phone calls and reading comments on Blogger and LJ, the verdict rings loud and clear: Option B, the French press. One reader put it best when he commented, “What would Thoreau do?”

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