Thursday, February 15, 2007

Obtaining the Perfect Star Tan

I’m at a friend’s house in South Carolina for the weekend. It’s built at the very top of a mountain, as evidenced by the rather treacherous gravel road you have to traverse to arrive at the garage door. I will definitely be in before dark each night because I can’t imagine going up or down that road with only headlights and no guardrails.

This weekend retreat of solitude was a Christmas present. Some friends think I’m weird for this, but I like to be alone more than most people. Not lonely, but alone. Big difference. Being alone gives me time to sort my thoughts, reconnect with my I.nner D.imension, and often leads to well written pages that will someday be published. (I literally laughed out loud when I realized I am on top of a mountain contemplating Life. How beautifully cliché.) Mark is a social butterfly and the traffic in our house resembles Grand Central Station, so alone time at home happens as often as the Yankees have won a Series this century. Yeah, think about that again.

This is the first time I’ve been to my friend’s house even though he’s been inviting me to come down for years. It’s every bit as gorgeous as others have said. A Great Room banked by a wall of windows overlooking the valley is the main attraction. My bare feet pad smoothly across cool hardwood floors, a perfect reflection of the vaulted wood beam ceiling. A small kitchen with custom cabinetry and all the modern conveniences opens to the side, and the pièce de résistance (besides the view out the windows) is a floor-to-ceiling stone fireplace, in which my pyro self has stoked the wood into something like a magazine picture, thank you very much. Even though there are two bedrooms, I’ll be on the couch tonight so I can lay here with the fire crackling beside me, and the stars above through all those windows. I’ll probably regret it in the a.m. when Mr. Sun reminds me that he awakens much earlier than I do.

After settling in and making all the requisite phone calls to let everyone know I am not a retard with directions, I made myself some dinner and waited for the fire in the sky to disappear behind the mountain. About 8:00 I dragged one of the summer deck chairs outside, grabbed a blanket and laid back, warm mug o’ chai in hand, to watch the constellations watching me.

When asked to select a date to go on this trip, I blindly pointed at the calendar and came up with this weekend. As it turns out, this is the perfect weekend to be on top of a mountain because the moon has emptied its light into the stars, and the clouds have graciously taken their leave to another part of the globe for this evening. We contemplated each other for a good 40 minutes in the 32 degree air. The winter chill eventually found its way under my layers of sweatshirts and covers though, and I reluctantly bid adieu to the sky after a shooting star made the perfect finale on the curtain of the Cosmos. It was a grand show.

Tomorrow I must venture briefly back to civilization and procure speakers for the MacBook as there is no stereo here and the only thing missing from the evening was music. I enjoy a good potent silence like that of the redwood forest in California a couple weeks ago, but as with all things, it must be taken in moderation.

More thoughts as they come. Or not.

A picture of the windows in this amazing house:

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