Bluegrass, Blue Ridge, Orange Sky, Fireflies

Perfect moment report!

Tracy and I were standing on the mountain ridge at this Airstream campground in southwest Virginia, watching the sun set. Just the right amount of distant clouds were over the Blue Ridge so that soft stretches of orange and pink were occasionally punctuated with striations of neon.

Half the sky shifted in color and shape for an hour.

Beside us were regular campers here, musicians sitting in a semicircle so they could watch the sky while they played. Dulcimer, banjo, fiddle, mandolin, guitar. Friends who joked and complimented each other as they picked songs they could play in the increasing dark.

I knew the tunes because I’ve listened to these folks play during the day in the shade of various trees on this ridge for the past two weeks.

During the day, they played standards in Bluegrass, Old Time melodies, a few folk songs that everyone could sing. Last night they picked the most beautiful melodies, weaving in and out, to complement the motion of light in the sky.

A French-Canadian couple walking by asked if this were “blue grass.” They were encouraged to sit. They asked about the instruments and about lucioles, “fireflies,” we told them.

I looked and I heard and I felt that the sky and the musicians and the friends and strangers were demonstrating what Appalachia can mean, still.

Lemme change tunes here, just for a minute.

You Picked a Fine Time to Leave Me, My Brain

I don’t have four hungry children and a crop in the field, but I’ve been granted two weeks in a lovely location in a welcoming social environment, where I would really like to step up to the plate. The folks who play music together encouraged me to sit in with my ukulele; Tracy and I have been going to group activities like crafts and potlucks and a movie and a group hike; people gather to make small talk during the sunset hour; on and on with the social. Daily yoga, by god. My kind of stuff.

I've had some bad times, 
lived through some sad times.
But this time your hurting won't heal.

What I’ve had to work with to make the most of this social time has been falling apart, i.e. my body. One fallout is that I’m on a particularly bad insomnia kick (four hours a night), and the prednisone ain’t helping. I’m taking it for a prolonged chigger reaction (yes, chiggers), because I figure being whacked out on prednisone is probably better than standing there scratching my belly button in public.

I’ve felt like wearing a placard that says, “I really am fun, I swear!” Instead I’m this limping, scratching, sleep-deprived, stress-hormone-lacking mess of a person. You picked a fine time, Lucille.

Nine days until my appointment with the Houston guy.

Thank goodness for the greater good though, the perfect moments. The gracious people, like my body double (pictured up top) and her husband, and the musicians who invited me to sit in, and the random people I’ve found myself walking along with or sitting beside at meals. People really can be kind.

8 thoughts to “Bluegrass, Blue Ridge, Orange Sky, Fireflies”

  1. People who welcome you when you’re at your (itchy) worst?
    The best!
    And this is such a perfect site, I don’t know how you’ll bear to leave.

    1. It has been a great (itchy) time here, for sure. Next site will be great too, which helps!

  2. I’m sitting here itching like mad, and it has nothing to do with chiggers. Just a million and a half mosquito bites. They’re torturous this year!

    1. If any insect can tell mosquitos, “Hold my beer,” it’s chiggers, let me tell ya.