Before driving through the Blue Ridge Parkway in reality in my 30s, I drove through it in my dreams during my twenties! My dream was to drive miles after miles amidst unbound beauty and was not limited to any particular country. In reality, when I drove through the Blue Ridge Parkway, I felt exhilarated not because it is one of the most scenic routes in the USA but because the reality connected me to my long cradled dream. Eventually on the way, on many occasions, my thirty-something me met my twenty-something me.
The rain was pouring incessantly on the sweet Saturday evening while I was inside the beautiful auditorium of the San Francisco Ballet and was reveling in the flow of music, dance, and drama. The on-stage ballet was a welcome break from the constant presence of screens in our lives. Dancers, musicians, background stage sceneries and a spirited audience transported me to a world of chivalry; a world of adventure; the world of Don Quixote. The refreshing cadence of this ballet rekindled a memory and my mind traversed back to Madrid’s Plaza de Espana, which I visited a couple of years ago in Spain. The plaza features a stone sculpture of the author
Miguel de Cervantes and two famous characters of his novel – Don Quixote and Sancho Panza.
San Francisco – the hilly city in northern California which is surrounded by the Pacific Ocean and San Francisco Bay has a unique charm. If you ever visit San Francisco, don’t just see its best views but also feel the vibes that this city has to offer. Let the sweet breeze intoxicate you, let the sounds of sea waves relax you, let the aroma from the restaurants around the Fisherman’s Wharf greet you and let the views ingrain some indelible moments in your mind. Recently, I savored and saw the best views of San Francisco riding an E-tuk from Dylan’s Tours. I managed to pop inside all the postcard-perfect and famous frames in San Francisco in one day.
The Montalvo Arts Center in Saratoga, California, gifted me a lyrical evening where the main protagonist is light. I got to experience a unique blend of imagination and craft, art and science, dark and light, silence and music, and fantasy and reality. British artist Bruce Munro took me away to an unknown world where darkness was a stage and light, a performer!
His creation, beautifully named Stories in Light, is an art installation that blooms at night. It gifts us wonder, beauty and joy – the intangible yet fundamental components of our life and existence.
While standing inside the National Lynching Memorial or the National Memorial for Peace and Justice, in Montgomery, Alabama, I read these death notices.
- After an overcoat went missing from a hotel in Tifton, Georgia, in 1900, two black men were lynched, whipped to death while being “interrogated” in the woods.
- Mary Turner was lynched, with her unborn child, at Folsom Bridge at the Brooks-Lowndes County line in Georgia in 1918 for complaining about the recent lynching of her husband, Hayes Turner.
- William Donegan was lynched in Springfield,
illinois, in 1908 for having a white wife.
- Ernest Green and Charlie Lang, both 14, were lynched in Shubuta, Mississippi, in 1942 after a white girl said they were threatening.
and the list goes on ……
I strive for an hour of silence every day. It has become an essential need like air and water for me for a mindful and conscious existence amidst a world full of noise. The constant noise from the surroundings and electronic gadgets perturbs my concentration and my time for reflection. As a result, I often spend days without writing a single sentence and this inability to write hinders my inner peace. When it happens I simply pack my bag and get lost somewhere in search of silence.
If I could I would divide the rest of the leisure days of my life in two ways. On some days, I would like to roam freely in wide and open spaces in nature – sea, mountains, meadows, forests, deserts and on some days I would rather confine myself in a cozy room and contemplate. Recently during my trip to Blowing Rock, a beautiful mountain village on the scenic Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina, my days were exactly the way I would like them to be.
When a piece of cloth is exposed to sunlight for many days, that cloth slowly loses its brightness and color. Likewise, when my mind remains exposed to modern city life, the whirlwind of traffic lights and its cult of timebound to do lists, it starts craving solitude, silence, and wilderness. During this moment I break free and decide to get lost amidst mother nature. Still, there remains an in-between time. I call it the transition time. The time which helps to bridge the gap between city life and wilderness. During my recent visit to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, McKinley Edwards Inn in Bryson City proved to be an excellent refuge that helped me bridge the gap and relax. Here I present a memoir of moments in McKinley Edwards Inn in Bryson City!