The first hints of fall color arrived in our mountains this weekend. I spotted a lone red leaf on one of our Maple trees and took that as a sign to join the migration to the Blue Ridge Parkway on this Sunday afternoon. I knew mom would enjoy another drive and I knew my sister would love the views, so up we went. The overlooks were busy and almost everyone held a camera. The sun had just returned after another day of rain, the temperatures were in the 60's, and flecks of autumn color dotted the mountains and valleys. The entire parkway felt like a festival.
We were able to help mom out of the car at one overlook and it was worth the effort. Even with her limited vision she knew something wonderful was spread before her and she loved it. She remained in the car at the other stops we made, but still enjoyed the views because most of the overlooks are designed to enjoy the views from your car. It's the perfect outing for those with limited mobility.
We stopped at one of my favorite picnic spots, one of the many places where the Appalachian Trail crosses the parkway. I have an innate tendency to long for escape to the woods and fields when I feel suffocated by the day to day details. It's akin to being thirsty and yearning for a drink of water. I walked over to the trail marker where the trail tunneled into the trees. I could smell the leaves and the damp earth and it was so very quiet. I imagined myself stepping onto the trail and walking into the woods and smiled at the thought. The longing was almost irresistible. I fingered the car keys in my pocket and turned back to the car. My mom and sister would be lost without my guidance... nor would there be the ice cream cones I promised from Bruesters if I walked into the woods. Some day I'll go for a walk, just not today.