Jack Frost is one capricious little dude. I didn’t expect to wake up to three inches of snow on the deck this morning. And I can’t remember when I’ve seen so much snow AND so much fall color at the same time.
Then, this evening, I was going through the papers of Silas McDowell (who once lived in the Cullasaja valley just a few miles from here) and found this:
AN AUTUMN PICTURE FROM THE SUGARTOWN HEIGHTS, SOUTH OF FRANKLIN, written September 15, 1871
Recently I stood upon the summit of a lofty rock that overlooks the heavily timbered low ground of the valley of the Cullasaja River. The first frost of autumn had left its imprint on the foliage of the trees. What a glorious spectacle was here presented to my enraptured gaze! Each variety of timber seemed to have dressed itself in a rich garb of that particular color peculiar to its genus, but all tinged with that sickly, hectic flush that precedes decay, glowing bright but not life-life, that imbues our spirit with a feeling of pleasing melancholy and sadness, which vacillates betwixt joy and grief. These emotions we have experienced after the sun has set behind the blue hills and painted the last flush of expiring day upon the thin canvas of some fleecy clouds. Similar emotions, who has not felt them? Alas, for the weakness of language, who can define the scene!
The gumtrees were clothed in brilliant red, the maples in bright carmine, which shades off into crimson, yellow, and green, the hickory and poplar wore garbs of such bright yellow as seemed to illumine the landscape with patches of sunshine. The ashtrees stood like Quakers in their plain dress of grayish green, while the tall spired hemlocks, with drooping branches, trembled in the breeze, but defiant of winter storms and snow, to fade out the deep, rich verdure of their aromatic foliage.
This lovely picture so indelibly stamped upon the tablet of my memory (the mind being immortal) that perhaps the ceaseless roll of the Eternal Hereafter will fail to fade the picture from my mind!