This post is part of the Secret Messages Project. Every day for thirty days, I’ll leave my words in places where they might be found — or might never be found at all. I hope you’ll join me.
We drive south, past the New River Valley into Giles, where the road climbs up and up into blue.
We steer the car up Salt Pond Mountain, higher and higher, over roads tiger-striped with the shadows of trees, until the limbs thin and the light thickens:
The air is the iciest indigo.
We pass Mountain Lake on our right — that famed place where Dirty Dancing was filmed — the water now sheeted white with ice.
We drive until the asphalt runs out and the gravel begins — roads so deeply rutted that the tires of the XTerra crash into holes, sending up sprays of ice and mud that fleck the windshield.
We climb — the world around us always bluer and bluer — until we reach that little turnoff where we leave the car and take the spur trail on foot up toward the AT.
After a few minutes of hiking in a bitter, bone-chilling cold, we reach the destination we were hoping for: Wind Rock.
I haven’t been here in more than five years.
The place is a sudden jut of boulders into blue: rocks spotted with moss and lichen, and trees that don’t look like trees I’ve seen anyplace else — they’re scrubby, twisted and malformed by constant wind.
Whoever named this place didn’t lie, I think.
The wind gusts again, and I gasp in cold air and look back to my feet: I am here for a purpose, which is to find the right place for my words. I want someplace out here near the edge, someplace close to the view. But I also need someplace safe from the wind. Someplace where my words will stay.
I have the almost-poem with me already, written on eight big oak leaves. I take the leaves out and tuck them into a crevice in the rock. Pin the whole stack of them down with a stone:
This is what they say …
I go walking
out over the ridges
my lone shadow
The hills are also blue,
and certain pines,
and, oh! that sky —
the clouds that look
the mountains that look
I breathe in
the blue air,
breathe it out
my hand on a blue branch,
and walk a little
over the blue hills
my indigo shadow
close by my side…
Oh, God, what a fool I’ve been
to think myself