Welcome to my mountain hide-a-way, tranquility personified, where majestic oaks stand guard as somber wooden soldiers, their outstretched arms providing a shaded retreat. Occasionally, the sun, cat-like, creeps through, casting its warm rays on bits and pieces of sandstone, creating the glittery illusion of a leprechaun’s enchanted treasure.
This is my magical, mystical realm exquisitely carpeted by moist green moss. The solitude is broken only by the excited chatter of the birds flitting from tree to tree warbling out a tuneful welcome. My wise, old, nocturnal friend is very inquisitive as he gives out with “Who? Who?”
This is my stage from which I proudly perform for the denizen creatures curious watching from their varied positions on the mountainside overlooking Liberty Street and my beloved Big Bottom. Here, my dreams become reality. I may be Betty Grable, the bashful blond, Esther Williams, the aquatic beauty, or perhaps Jane Eyre as I tutor my handmade stick dolls gala adorned in elaborate gowns of satiny green leaves.
This is my circus, nature’s own center ring. With my mouth agape I sit mesmerized by spirited squirrels, little forest trapeze artists, as they run pell mell up and down the sturdy oaks. My astonished gasp does not disturb their minute accuracy as they shoot out and catch a limb.
This is my playhouse, fabulously furnished from my mind’s whirlwind storehouse. With a wave of my magic wand, a stone here, a toadstool there, is transformed into an elegant sofa and chair. A rock-carved table uniquely displays a bluish-green coca cola bottle, taken from its bed in the creek, from which a fancy bouquet of daises, blue bells, red snake flowers and dandelions send forth a nose-tickling fragrance.
Time is of the essence here and the tolling of distant church bells serve as my hourglass. Their heavenly strains echo throughout the sleepy little town at a precise time each day and I am alerted that soon the velvety sky will silently drop its ebony curtain and it’s time for me to hit the curvy trail homeward.
As I leave my secluded domain behind me , rabbits. squirrels and woodchucks playfully dart here and there. Often I hesitate to let a black snake slink across my path. The cool stream at the foot of the mountain invites me to dip my toes into its bubbling waters. As I lower my foot, a fisty minnow takes a nibble and I hastily withdraw.
The thick, hickory smoke belching from the neighborhood chimneys emit a heavy aroma that activates my taste buds, arousing the childish hunger within me. I know its suppertime. I turn and bid farewell to this awesome splendor knowing that this descent is only a brief interlude between now and tomorrow. Another day? Perhaps -- in time?