“This is the most beautiful place on Earth.”
I heard these words drop from my mouth like the drizzling rain that was making rabbit trails across my windshield. As soon as the phrase left my mind and hung in the air, I began to think of all the places in the world that have the acclaim of epic beauty.
The vast Pacific Ocean drive of Highway 1 on the western coast of the United States. The swirling, rainbow of colors pressed into the sandy deserts of North America. The eerie, lunar landscapes of Chile and lush green hills that roll into the Tasman sea off the coast of New Zealand. Creeping, cracking glaciers, Bear Tooth Pass in Montana, Yosemite, Yellowstone, Redwoods, Grand Tetons, the knobby islands of Thailand, the hollow gum trees absorbing the Temples in Siem Reap, Cambodia. Alpine views, Medieval European cities, Provence, Nice, Cinque Terra, the deep blue water of the Adriatic sea...
I have made it my business to see the places that boast the world’s most epic beauties. But today, I drove along the Blue Ridge Parkway from North Carolina to Virginia and back and this is where I let my heart settles in what I would righteously call the world’s greatest place of beauty.
The Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina are part of the oldest mountain range on the planet. They were lusciously green today, leading us gently from one viewpoint to the next, revealing the layered hues of azure that stretch across the horizon. Mists and clouds waved like magicians white gloved fingers through the valleys and sprinkled my face with delicate drops of water that smelled like mountain flowers and pungent beds of moss.
I have been awed by the giant, jagged peaks of the Rockies and amazed by the snowcapped Alps of Europe, but at the core of my wonder there is an innate knowledge that this place, though beautiful, is dangerous and wild. The Appalachians wrap me up like my grandparent’s hugs and lull me to sleep after a long evening of sipping sweet tea in a rocking chair, staring off into the sunset.
There is something ancient abiding here, like the wisdom of the ages suspended in time sprouting shoots of bright green truths on every trail. The Blue Ridge Mountains are a transformational place, full of comfort and challenge, hope and discord, where my heart can find rest and my spirit can soar to the heavens and back.
I don't remember this enough, but this place of grandeur is only two hours away and a worthy friend to visit as regularly as possible.