G is for Green

She was not well, I could tell. Another migraine, my best guess. That and the never-ending pain of the fibromyalgia. Another man would have known there was nothing he could do. No way to help, other than be quiet, and be there. If she needed him.

But, I’m not normal. I’m not another man. I’m me. While it remained true I couldn’t remove her pain, couldn’t cure her migraine, I wasn’t totally helpless. There was something I could do.

As she sat on the sofa, I sat on the floor, facing her, and in a quiet voice I asked, “Trust me?”

She nodded. I smiled. “Then, close your eyes and dream.” I took her hands in mine, and she closed her eyes, as I captured a dream and turned it into words for her…

Feel the softness of the breeze as it touches your skin, caresses your face. Hear it pass among the trees, the soft music it plays as it rustles their leaves. Open your eyes and look around at the green everywhere you can seen. So many shades, from pale to strong, and light to dark. The way the sunlight filters through the trees, beams hanging in air here and there. Fields of leaves flickering in the light, as the breeze moved them about.

Look to the canopy of the forest you’re in, so high over head. See how it paints the sky in shades of green, filled with gaps of blue, and the gold of the sunlight. Listen as you hear the sounds of pinecones, acorns, and nuts fall through the forest, bouncing off branches and limbs, until they strike the ground.

In the distance, you hear the sound of water in the, flowing in a stream, over rocks, and between the trees. Sometimes quiet, almost silent. Sometimes, roaring in rapids, and maybe even a waterfall.

Now and then, you walk, to another space along a trail, in the forest wonderland. Every time you stop, you drink in the magic of a world that’s real. One not made by the hand of man. One that was there before we were, and will be there after all of us are gone.

For this is life’s gift to you this day. A land that’s alive, painted in the colors of sunlight, blue sky, and an endless sea of shades of green.

Close your eyes, my friend.

And dream.

Hanging Rock State Park, Tuesday, 30 September 2014

It is now 1907 hours, per the Chromebook. We are now settling into the tent for the first of our three nights here, at campsite 14, in Hanging Rock State Park, North Carolina. This is our second visit to Hanging Rock. We visited last October, for 3 nights. As a result, I’m less stressed being here this year than I was last year.

It’s an autistic thing. No. Really. It is. As much as I like to explore new places, the act of exploring them places me under a ton of stress. Because I’m in an unfamiliar environment, which means I don’t know what can happen, how to respond to whatever does happen, how to behave in a social situation in the new environment.

Yeah, yeah. I know. Everybody knows how to behave in any given setting, and can figure it out by observing body language, tone of voice, eye signals, and all the other forms of unspoken communication people have, and use.

Autistic. Remember? That means I don’t pick up on those very things. Yep. Look at me like I’m out of my mind, and I very likely won’t notice.

So, being here a second time means I am less stressed this trip. Because I have some experience in this environment, and some frame of reference to draw from. And that’s a good thing. It means I’ll have more fun, and take more pictures, and experiment more with my camera this trip.

Now…. Now, I want to change the rules, and do something I know how to do. Capture a dream, a feeling, a moment, and put it on paper.

This afternoon, after we set up the tent, we hopped in the xB, and drove to the Lower Cascades Water Fall of the park. The fall is beautiful. What waterfall isn’t? The top is next to a rock face nearly as tall as the fall. At the base of that rock face where the water pulls away, heading toward the cascade, lies a moss and fern garden that could only grow in such a place, partly shielded from the sun, and receiving all the water it needs from the fall. The water plummets down the fall, into a cove. The water of the cove is calm, almost still. You can watch the ripples of leaves as they fall from the trees, trace the paths of the water bugs, as they flit about on its surface. Beside the waterfall, and the cove is an ancient rock face, laced with cracks, nooks, crannies, and holes. Trees, flowers, weeds, grasses, mosses, and lichen grow from the cracks, bringing splashes of green to the somber gray of the rock.

You would love to see it. No picture can ever do it justice.

We took pictures, of course. Lots of pictures. I experimented with camera settings, trying to shorten the exposure time so I could take a picture without the blur of moving the camera. After I finished playing with my camera, I decided to try something different. I turned off my camera, and took the time to experience the place.

The colors, so many shades of green in the trees, grasses, mosses, leaves. splashes of white flowers accenting the scene here and there. The glistening wet rock of the fall. The clarity of the water. The roots of trees, spread on the ground, looking for ways into and through the rock.

The sounds of the fall, of its echo of the rock face in the cove, of the cascades to the far side of the cove. How they washed away the sounds of city life. No cars, no horns, no machines, no phones. Just the sounds of water flowing over rocks.

Then, the rock itself. I closed my eyes, and felt it. Not cold, and unfeeling. Old. Ancient. It was there before humans existed. It will be there after we’re all gone. It has seen so much. It has been there so long.

As I have been known to say, every once in a while. Close your eyes and dream.

Close your eyes and dream.

A Clip From Chapter 24 Of JuNoWriMo 2012.

The first night, they reached the Gray Hills. They stopped in a little clearing that Mystica spotted from the air. It was next to a little stream. With trees all around. They spent the night there, sleeping on the ground. They drank fresh water from the stream. And they ate berries, and cheese that Mystica had carried with her. It wasn’t anything special. But it meant so much to Sunshine. To do something so simple. So normal. So quiet. To just be able to spend time with her mother.

They told stories that night. Sunshine told stories of playing with Musica in the castle. And Mystica told stories of the birds, and rabbits by the lake. How they played games with each other.

Sunshine fell asleep that night, with a smile on her face, and her head in Mystica’s lap.

The second day of the trip, they crossed the Gray Hills, to the foothills of the Black Mountains. Sunshine saw so many things she’d never seen before. She saw wild animals roaming through the hills, in groups. Like deer, wild turkeys, rabbits, and even wolves. But what she liked most of all were the birds, and the butterflies. She’d seen birds in the kingdom. But she’d never seen such flocks of birds before. And never knew that butterflies flew in such large groups.

Sunshine also saw lakes, between the hills. Where streams, and creeks, and rivers came together. And next to some of them there were villages. The way the surface of the lakes reflected sunlight was so amazing to her. How the lake sometimes looked like liquid silver in the sunlight.

That second night, in the foothills of the mountains, They had another simple meal. And they settled in a small clearing that overlooked the Gray Hills. Sunshine had stood there for a couple of hours, just looking at the hills. “They’re beautiful, Mommy! They’re so beautiful!” She watched as fog began to form around the lakes, the rivers, and the creeks. And then slowly spread. Covering the Gray Hills as far as she could see. “I know why they call them the Gray Hills, Mommy! I know! The fog at night turns everything gray!”

The third day of the journey home was through the Black Mountains. The heights of the mountains were so high that nothing grew on them. they were bare rock. Many of them were covered in ice and snow. On that day, Sunshine saw her first waterfalls. She’d never seen anything like them. Water flowing over a big cliff, and falling to the ground below, where it returned to being water in a river once again.

She saw her first snow. She’d never seen snow. It never snowed in the Southern Plains. Sunshine had no idea what it was at first. Mystica had stopped, and let her explore the snow for a time. Sunshine learned it was cold. And if you picked up a handful of it, that it would met in your hand, and turn to water. “It’s frozen water!” She looked at the snow some more, and realized the water froze in little flakes. As they were on the ground, it actually started to snow. And Sunshine learned that snow was a lot like frozen rain.

Sunshine also saw her first iceberg. A river made of ice. Flowing between two mountains. As icebergs go, it was a small one. The big icebergs were all in the land of ice and snow to the north. But at the tops of the Black Mountains, it was cold enough for a few icebergs to form. Sunshine.

The two of them had spent the night in the northern foothills of the Black Mountains. They had their usual berries and cheese. And they drank water from a mountain stream. They slept beneath the stars that night. And listened to the animals sing. The sounds of crickets chirping. The sound of frogs croaking. The sound of birds singing their songs. It was a veritable orchestra of wildlife. And Sunshine spent hours listening to the music of the animals before she fell asleep.

Why Is It?

Why is it that
No one that I know
Seems to ever take the time
To take a walk
Along the sand,
Down by the water’s edge?

Why is it that
No one that I know
Seems to ever take the time
To take a walk
In such a rare place
As the gardens
Of a botanical park?

Why is it that
No one that I now
Seems to ever take the time
To take a walk
Along a trail
In a National Park?

Why is it that
No one that I know
Seems to ever take the time
To stand before a waterfall,
And simply stare
For a while.

I know the people
That I know
Do take walks
Along the beach,
Or through a garden.

I know the people
That I know
Sometimes do go
To see a waterfall somewhere.

I know they take vacations
Every year.
And go someplace
To get away
From the things they deal with
Every day.

And they come back
From their vacations
Exhausted.
From the pace they’ve set,
And the things they’ve done
While they were away.

It’s like they try to cram
An entire year of fun
Into one short week.

I know
That I have
To take my walks.
I have to see the ocean
And it’s waves.
I have to see the flowers,
And the trees.
I have to stop and stare
At a waterfall somewhere.

I have to do these things.
To remember
What it means
To be alive.
To remember
The gift that life is.

And many times
I do these things
Alone.

Because when I walk alone
Out there on the sand,
Down by the water’s edge.
Or through the flowers
And the trees
Of a big garden somewhere.
Or on a trail
In a National Park.
I can strip away
All the things I have to be
Every single day.

And for just a little while
I can be myself.

And I can’t help but feel
That so very many
Of the people that I know
Are very much afraid
Of doing anything
Alone.

Which makes me wonder
Very much sometimes.
Why is it that
People are that way?
So very much afraid
Of being alone.
So that they can strip away
The things they have to be
Every single day.
And for a little while
Just be who they are.

Why is it that
Things seem this way
To me?