Sunday, February 12, 2012

One Last Mention of the Mountains

Yes, I know. I’ve been back in Texas for weeks now. But my sister’s mountain cabin still dominates my mind. I can still see the sweeping vistas of mountain ridges – one behind the other all the way to the ocean. Over the hills stretch endless rows of grapevines, their meticulous symmetry adding their own sense of beauty. And I vividly recall the wild fragrance of the woods beyond the vineyard gates. When Sarah sent me an envelope filled with bay leaves, rosemary and lemon thyme it nearly sent me over the edge. I’d run back there in a minute.

And there is one more thing to mention – the neighbors. None are within walking distance, at least not at our present age, and none can even be seen from the house. The nearest is Ellen, the kind lady who took care of Sis until I got there and then met the airport shuttle. One day we drove up, down, and around on the one-lane, more or less blacktopped road to have lunch on her patio.  It was sunny and cool and the view, of course, was spectacular. The visit was full of local history and further insights into mountain life.
Another time we called on Anita, a lady who has read my books and wanted to meet me. As it happened, I was wearing one of her husband’s cast-off shirts (which Sis had acquired at some point) because the airlines had yet to find my luggage.

Anita’s gardens were almost as fantastic as the scenery. Off the driveway was a beautiful bit of landscaping with junipers, flowers, herbs, art objects, and pathways. Every other side of the house had vegetable plots as well as orange and persimmon trees. We left with almost more produce than we could carry.
That evening I discovered that preparing super fresh foods is quite different. For instance, cutting a carrot right out of the ground releases a sweet, moist fragrance. Another surprise is how quickly they cook. The rhubarb, cauliflower, Swiss chard, and carrots were tender in minutes. Even a couple of days later this was still true for the snap beans, cabbage and broccoli. With access to such fresh and wholesome foods, it’s no wonder Sarah healed so quickly.

All right, that’s it. I promise. Next time it’s back to the books!

No comments: