Many people flock to the North Carolina mountains in October to view the fall foliage. While the autumn leaf colors viewed from the Blue Ridge Parkway are spectacular, I find the season a bit sad – a reminder that the dead of winter is rapidly approaching. Fall is the seasonal equivalent of Ash Wednesday, the harbinger of the cold, contemplative, repentant season of Lent and the darkness of Good Friday.
By contrast, spring in the mountains is Easter morning. On my recent visit, it was “baby spring” above 4,000 feet. Looking down into the valleys, one sees a subtler display of colors than in the fall – warm sienna brown, soft spring green, dazzling white – reflecting the first show of leaves, dogwood blooms and more.
Tiny bluets border trails and the scent of galax fills the air. Yellow butterflies appear. The hope and possibilities of the vibrant season to come shimmer in the early spring light. The whirl of the wind completes the sense of holiness ready to engulf you. The not-yet-full canopy of leaves still allows space for a broad perspective, providing views of rivers and waterfalls that will be obscured in summer and early fall. Nature rejoices -happy spring! Alleluia!