Don’t think the garden loses its ecstasy in the winter.
It’s quiet but the roots down there are riotous.
From “Form is Ecstatic”, Rumi, The Soul of Rumi, translated by Coleman Barks
We drove up a mountain towards an entrance to Shenandoah National Park, exploring, wondering what would happen if…
I saw a road named “Lake View Rd.” – it rang a bell. You have to understand – we have spent the last week obsessively looking at houses for sale all over the country – OBX, Stanley, Stannardsville – anywhere that popped into our heads, so there are a lot of names of roads in my head. I continued driving up the mountain. I fell called and determined to follow the leading. I stopped in the middle of the steep two lane road and did a three point turn to head back down the mountain.
I turned left at the faded For Sale sign onto a road, a lane really, pocked with missing stones and ruts of mud washed out. There, behind the overgrown bushes, I saw the house I’d seen online, half hidden. I felt an immediate sense of wonder and curiosity. A cabin. A house. A shed. A workshop. A pond. A lovely yard. No people. The sun was sinking behind the mountain. I felt compelled to explore. I stopped the car in the middle of the lane, pretty sure no one would drive down there, only marginally concerned about the neighbor’s seeing and worrying.
I walked up the grass driveway, noted the chiminea, the carefully placed metal glider, indications of fond times spent in the yard. I felt drawn toward the house. My natural tendency to explore and my extreme curiosity overcame my awareness of the No Trespassing sign posted next to the cabin, and I chose to walk over to the house. Chris stayed put next to the car, guarding us in case someone came up to complain. I motioned for him to come on, but he stayed. I wandered, unable to stop myself. On tiptoe, I stealthily, in case someone was watching, approached the house, went behind it to see the lovely 3-season porch and the woods no 15 feet from the house. The ground level deck screamed for a hot tub – cool night, woods dimming, cool coming, hot tub private and soothing after a wonderful day’s work. I could feel it in my bones.
I followed a beckoning path, feeling enchanted. The plants have become overgrown since the realty pictures were taken. The stone steps lead past a half-buried Red Radio Flyer Wagon, companion to ours rusting here at home.
The stairs lead to a lovely expanse where the studio cabin and workshop await, broad lawn with beautiful plantings throughout. I feel a sense of enchantment in this half-hidden place, child-like wonder and curiosity to know more. The Secret Garden come to life. I want to see inside the buildings. I imagine living there, feeling alive in each moment, discovering what flowers the Spring will bring. I imagine offering workshops as the seasons change, a chance to paint the beauty. Never drawn to landscapes, I now want to capture the mauve purple as the sun pulls the curtain on the day, igniting the maple next to the white farmhouse set on the winding ribbon of road, dwarfed by and yet completely at home in the ring of mountains and streaked sky.
Something I never knew was in me has awakened and wants to be at home here in this quiet place, high on a mountain, ringed by trees, protected and sacred and beautiful.