“The Dream of Fall,” column for Oct. 15, 2013

Sometimes, if we’re lucky and live long enough, we get to make a dream come true.

I am sitting on a porch, writing on my laptop (thanks to the wonders of wi-fi) at a cabin on a lake in Carolina, North or South or maybe both. I’m not sure. The lake straddles the stateline and flows between several basins, making it difficult for me to say exactly where I am.

No matter.

I am here. And I am present.

I grew up in these mountains, running barefoot, chasing cows, dodging snakes, pinching cousins and marveling at the dazzling spectacle of the changing of the seasons.

I left after college to make my life and rear my children a world away in California. I’ve returned many times to visit family and friends, to sink my toes in red dirt, eat fried green tomatoes and fill my senses with the land that I still call “home.”

Too often, I came for funerals. My grandparents and most of their 12 children, including my mother, are buried on a hill above the Bi-Lo parking lot.

My dad and most of his family were laid to rest, as well, in the family plot at a country church some 40 miles up the road.
My sister and brothers and nieces and nephews and dozens of our cousins have lived their entire lives hereabout.

All of that’s to say this: My roots are here. I have roots in other places: 30 years on the coast of California, seven in the desert outside Las Vegas. I’ve always loved the coast and I’m learning to love the desert.

But the Blue Ridge Mountains were my first love, the place where I learned how to walk and talk and breathe and dream and try to make sense of who I am.

Wherever I go, whatever I do, some part of me dreams of being here in these mountains.

Especially in the fall.

And so, lucky for me, here I am, making a dream come true, sitting alone on a lake watching leaves put on their show, and picking up once again where I last left off, writing a novel that I’ve put down for too long.

My husband understands my wanting/needing to do this. It’s one of the reasons I married him. He doesn’t seem to mind that I’m not exactly … normal. He knows I’ll come back to him when the leaves are down.

I wish you could see them. There’s not a lot of color yet, just green, of course, more green than imaginable in the desert or even on the coast or maybe even in a jungle.

For now, there is only a hint of color, a promise, a leafy dream of red and yellow and gold.

I can wait. In the meantime, I watch other things.

In summer, this lake hums with power boats and jet skis and lots of folks looking for anything but peace and quiet.

Fall is a different story.

Basically, I’ve got the lake to myself, more or less. Except for a distant, barking hound. And a Great Blue Heron with legs that are longer than mine, who likes to fish in the shallows off the porch. And a dark, feathery shape I suspect is a hawk that dive-bombed into a dogwood tree and flew off with a squirrel.

Occasionally in the distance I hear a chainsaw, or a leaf-blower or the voices of men debating how to build or shore up or rip something down. Voices carry well over water.

Also, over the weekend, I saw a pack of seven dogs _ Labs, I believe _ swimming across the lake in the company of a woman standing up on a paddleboard.

I don’t get Showtime or HBO, but there is no shortage of entertainment when you’re busy watching a dream come true.

I am here. And I am present. And that is all it takes, really.

Show up, be present wherever you are and watch your life become the life of your dreams.

Where are you? What’s your dream? Let me know.

I’ll let you know how it goes on the lake with me and mine.

Comments

  1. Davey & Dan says:

    Hi Rose of Sharon! I can just see you in your lovely, peaceful lake in the mountains. I, too, love being back East watching the hills turn into a quilt of fall colors. Just breath taking. Have a wonderful time! Can’t wait for the novel. Its been a long time coming hasn’t it my Friend?

  2. Kim Parker says:

    I READ YOUR COLUMN ON MY LUNCH BREAK EVERYDAY. I FEEL AS THOUGH I WERE HAVING LUNCH WITH A FRIEND, EVEN THOUGH WE HAVE NEVER MET. HA, HA, YOU ALWAYS MAKE MY DAY. I AM NOT GOOD WITH WORDS LIKE YOU. I WOULD LIKE TO SHARE ONE OF MY FAV. POEMS WITH YOU. THE ARROW AND THE SONG BY HENRY WADSWORTH LONGFELLOW. MAYBE YOU COULD SHARE YOUR FAV. POEM WITH ME. GOD BLESS YOU AND YOUR FAMILY. I SHALL KEEP READIING. KIM PARKER

  3. Sharon says:

    I was born in the military hospital at Fort Ord, but from the time I was small, we lived back East. First in Michigan while my Dad was in Korea, and then (after a two year stint in Japan) in New York. I think those early years forever instilled in me the love of autumn. I still consider it my favorite season, even here in San Benito county. My grown daughter laughs at how I insisted on sending her back to school every year in corduroy or wool, and how she sweated!

    I’m so glad you’re writing a book! Even on my worst days, my writing keeps me going, waiting to see what happens in the lives of my characters. I’ve recently discovered the joy of having someone ask me when the next book is coming out, because they can’t wait! It’s such a soul-satisfying thing to know that people appreciate what you do, isn’t it?

  4. sydney love says:

    I read this today and thought of a conversation I had with my husband last weekend. Our daughter came home from college for fall break and wanted to take a day trip to the mountains. Saturday the three of us went to Lake Lure and walked along the shoreline. We enjoyed the beautiful mountain views and as we sat on a bench, I told my husband, it is about this time of year that Sharon Randall takes her trip to the lake near the mountains. You always paint a beautiful picture of the lake and the mountains and I was enjoying that for myself on Saturday and today I read , there you are. It has to be the most peaceful place on earth to be in the NC mountains and on a lake this time of year. I think that is exactly why my daughter wanted to take that trip this past weekend, because her life as a senior college student at NC State is so filled she just wanted a place to reflect on life and take a deep breath. Thank you for giving me another breath of fresh air for my week.

  5. Weldon says:

    I’m 58, soon to be 59, the same month my grandson was born only 57 years later. My only grandchild so far so you can see how old I was when he was born and how I’ll always wish it could have happened a little earlier but you don’t get to deal the cards in this life, you only get to play the hand you were dealt. So I spend all the time I can watching him see so much for the first time, taste and feel every thing he can put in his mouth or fill his little hand. I love him so much and time somehow seems so short so my wish is to watch my little man discover life and somehow I seem to rediscover a part of it I lived so long ago. I wish life to be as good to him as it has been to me. I always love your column, Sharon. Thank you

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