Illness, Acrophobia, Mountain Folk, and True Love Reunites for a Wedding.
I've been very weak lately, and I begin to feel better, then I get worse... More appointments this week, to figure out what is causing me so much illness...I managed to get away for a super-quick trip(I was away less than 20 hours) to the area of North Carolina called Blowing Rock. It's a beautiful area, in terms of lush greenery and high mountains. Of course, I have had several episodes of vertigo in my life AND I'm on these antibiotics which tend to make me feel both dizzy and nauseated, so you can imagine how fun this part was for me, with Hansoo taking the snaking curves up the sides of various hills, and eventually--to Grandfather Mountain, where my dear friend, my oft-called "Big Sis", Carole Madan was holding her wedding to celebrate her love of Chuck, the boy she was engaged to as a teenager.(Carole and Chuck attended different colleges, and each went on to marry other people, and have lovely children, and both Carole and Chuck divorced their spouses, and ran into one another, years later, to discover they still felt very connected to one another.)
As we slid up the mountainside(I say slid, because it was rainy and slick)and I tried to focus only on the green trees and bright flowers, instead of looking down at the dizzying gorges and nausea-producing jagged rocks, I found even the lush foilage did not quell the rising illness, or calm me. No, no, in North Carolina's "Celtic country" as it is referred to, the surroundings are less joyful "Wizard of Oz", much more "Pan's Labyrinth" in terms of emotional feeling. The greenery appears as though it could crush you just as the numerous boulders no doubt could. The trees, the overhanging branches, all of it began to look as if it were choking us, ensnaring us in some foreign universe from which we could not escape. EEEEUUUUWWW!I actually expected Guillermo del Toro(director of Pan's Labyrinth), or one of his created beasts to descend on us, or worse--envisioned Rod Serling discussing us being trapped in "The Twilight Zone"(cue creepy well-known music-theme here), his broad smile and hushed tones imploring viewers to stay tuned. I kept saying to Hansoo, "Are these people who live here, crazy? Do they have to live here?"
"No, Lisa, many people get a second home in the mountains, or they retire here."
"Oh, yeah," I said, trying to inhale slowly, and hunting for a plastic bag(just-in-case)"I've read that. I mean, I know there's a great view, but who could stand to look down, to see it?"
I love cities--all of San Francisco(I especially enjoy the grittiness of "the Castro"), all of Los Angeles(especially the much-maligned South-Central, which is teeming with life, and renewal, and diversity), New York's Mid-town Manhattan, Left Bank of Paris being a few gorgeous ones), and I know several people who aren't comfortable in an urban setting. They feel threatened in any setting unfamiliar to them, and I always find that annoying, and terribly unsophisticated....Alas, this was MY nightmare--mountains and greenery, and oh, did I mention there's no way to reach anyone by phone? That's right, to add to the fear-factor, there's NO cell-phone reception(Believe me, I tried at least twelve times, hoping to reach someone who could, metaphorically-speaking "talk me down" or "out" of my fear). Which means, should you become confused, or stranded, you'd stay that way---unless of course, one of the scary-looking bearded fellows who skulks along the backwoods(cue music from the film, "Deliverance" here) decides to help(!) you out(And hey--don't write me and tell me none of these folks are scary--more than a few could be straight from Central Casting as the local Meth addict, the country's next Unabomber, or the frightening-to-look-at-but-may-not-hurt-you-Rip-Van-Winkle) .
But back to the wedding. The wedding was truly lovely. Once Hansoo & I had crossed the road, and made our way into the Grandfather Mountain Highland Games, and discovered the Dance Platform where we would join other wedding guests, we could see the swirls of a different kind of greenery--that of beautiful, auburn-haired Carole, enrobed in green and cream, she and her maids adorned with garlands of flowers in their hair. With the bride and groom's backs to us, as their female celebrant enjoined them,we could see in detail Carole's veil--tiers of cream silk flocked with flowers, and looking every bit as Renaissance as the woman herself is.
Chuck's kilt was from his family's Clan, and the bagpipes burst with song after both Carole and Chuck promised "shelter in my heart, comfort in my arms, and in my eyes, may you always see your innocence." Special shouts-out to Carole's son Rabi, fresh from college, new working man, adorable as always, and Monique, Carole's gorgeous, smart, savvy daughter.
I wish I could say I'll hit Grandfather Mountain next year, to see the games--border collies herding sheep, a marathon of runners, and other competitions. I'd like to visit the nearby park, where animals as diverse as otter and black bear, eagles and deer, roam freely(the fencing was built around the animals' natural habitat, unlike city zoos which bring animals to them), but I doubt I will. I'd have to get over my extreme fear of heights. For now, though, I have lovely memories of a mountain-top wedding, bagpipes, a dinner at the Green Park Inn and conversation amongst the company of academics and artists, scholars and sages.All were part of Carole's family and friends, and I am grateful to have been included. I will treasure the basket of authentic Scottish goodies, and locally-produced clover-honey...Congratulations, Carole and Chuck! Oh, and I'm sooo glad they'll be making their new home in North Carolina--on the other side of the state--along the low-lying, COASTAL area, that is!