Friday, October 14, 2011

And then the clouds parted....

We were spoiled by a long run of good weather and spectacular mountain scenery, and what I'm convinced was the prettiest fall foliage in memory, when the clouds closed in Tuesday and brought heavy rains to the Virginia mountaintop.   We rarely saw the other side of the hayfield while the heavens were going forth and multiplying -- over 4 inches, according to my $4.95 Farmer's Hardware rain gauge on the deck.  We thought the weather was clearing late Thursday, but more rain came in the night -- and then the northwest winds started blowing. With them came the sun, slowing drying out sodden fields and puddled roads and revealing some lovely sights we were afraid had blown away with the gale.

What a difference.  The winds keep blowing and the leaves are falling -- or rather scooting sideways, coming from the direction of Blacksburg and by now landing, I'm pretty sure, in Winston-Salem and stations south.

But by golly it's still gorgeous out there on Belcher Mountain Road, and that part of Black Ridge Road between the Blue Ridge Parkway and Canning Factory Road is one eye-popper after another. I hate to see those lovely leaves blow away, but the end of the leaves also means that things are clearer. We can see further into the woods, and well beyond. From our front-porch rockers in summer we see lush maples and oaks and chestnut oaks and thickets of mountain laurel and rhododendron. But when the leaves retire for the season, we see the highest peak in Patrick County, where once our friend Judy Burnett Davis once thought of building a home, and which we still call Judy's knob.   We can just begin to see the profile of that noble hill as the leaves come down.

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