The Cold Light of a January Sun

A winter view of the mountains in Black Mountain, NC, the green of the leaves replaced by dull grey mountains against a pale sky.

Photograph by Brian Scott Casey

“The last leaf has fallen.  The grey pall of winter has descended on these mountains.  The glory of Fall is gone, and the world is colder and sadder without it.  Every day seems empty of color.  I miss the leaves.  I wish they hadn’t gone”

I wrote these lines before arriving at the place I am in now.  Here, winter seems to be holding itself back.  Stubborn oak leaves the color of rust cling to the branches.  They rustle in the wind as it blows.  It sounds like the deep sighing of waves, with the very same rise and fall.  I close my eyes and let it wash over me.

Oak leaves the color of rust rattle and shake in the wind against a blue sky in Western North Carolina.

Photograph by Brian Scott Casey

The wind picks up and rushes above the sound of the leaves.  It pulls at this page, fighting my words.  Tall, thin twisting trees sway back and forth with a dull creak.  The leaves raise their voices as the wind pushes against them, their dry bodies rattling like bones.

The sun is shining.  The day is cold, but the sky is blue with delicate wisps of white clouds.  The evergreens bristle with color, and Rhododendron clamors with resilient life at their base.  In the distance, mountains rise blue and grey against the sky.

Here, now, I think winter is beautiful.  I am discovering a new found love for the season I have long since dreaded coming each year.  There are trails to be hiked; clear days like this one when I can sit outside and write in the sun.

The word NOW carved into a grey stone sits at the base of spiral stairs climbing up a mountain.

Photograph by Brian Scott Casey

Other days, the clouds descend and press wet and white against us. The house is like an island in a cotton sea.  I love these days too.  I feel like I am floating in a world of my own.

White, cottony clouds press against dark, wet winter trees whose rusted leaves bleed through the fog.

Photograph by Brian Scott Casey

This place constantly seems to be engaged in the act of transformation.  It is always different, from one moment to the next.  The chill, dull stupor of the winters I have known are banished here.  The world is alive around me.

My life hinges in this place, bent on changing.

I seek joy in my days here.  I seek the quiet sanctity of this forest, at the top of this mountain that reaches for the sky.   I seek my words in the cold light of this January sun.

Green pines bristle against a subdued winter view of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Photograph by Brian Scott Casey

The mountains are calling and I must go.

Ready to embrace winter in the mountains for yourself?  Check out the resources below for great winter activities to enjoy in the Blue Ridge Mountains and surrounding areas.

Don’t forget to follow me in LOCUS: A journey in search of PLACE!

Winter Sports in the Blue Ridge Mountains

35 things to do in Asheville, NC during Winter

Best Winter Hikes

Winter in the Smoky Mountains


2 thoughts on “The Cold Light of a January Sun

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