I spent Memorial Day weekend in beautiful Asheville, NC with my brother Tom, my sister Laurie, and my Mom. Finally got to see Tom's awesome new house. His place is a little slice of heaven. I got there while Tom was picking up my Mom, so I walked around the yard. I looked down and there was a box turtle right at my feet. Too cool! I spent a lot of time sitting on his back porch just enjoying the beauty of the trees and all the wildlife. We never even turned on the tv.
On Saturday we took the LaZoom Art Tour on a puple converted bus. I bought a print for my bedroom. We learned a lot about the Asheville art scene, and saw some great paintings, sculptures, and pottery. At one gallery, I was enthralled with a particular painting. Something about it reminded me of Andy. When I asked the artist what the name of it was, he said "Heaven's Gate." I got a little teary eyed. There are no coincidences. I may end up buying it...just need to think about it because it will be a pretty big investment. Later in the afternoon, we went to the Smokey Mountain National Park to hike and at dusk to watch all the elk come out of the woods to graze in the fields. As we were hiking, an elk walked right across the trail. It was really exciting. Then we went over to the fields, and sure enough, elk started walking out of the woods and into the field. We watched them for awhile and then went over to another field where a whole group of them were hanging out. It was really awe inspiring. I felt---Happy! Happiness doesn't come to me that much these days, but I loved seeing these incredible animals. It's the closest thing to joy I've experienced since Andy left us. Ahhh, the beauty and magic of nature.
Sunday we all did some exploring and shopping downtown, and Tom's awesome girlfriend, Laura, came along. Asheville has such a vibrant downtown. It's easy to get around in and lots and lots to do. Better than Raleigh, IMHO. I also love the eclectic mix of people there. All types of people are welcome and accepted. You can go to a drum circle on Friday nights with all the "hippies", and then the next day view mansions of the rich and famous. It's very laid-back and healthy there. A great walking town filled with history. We had dinner at one of Asheville's many restaurants. I have yet to have a bad meal there. Most places serve local produce and meats cooked in interesting and healthy ways. After dinner we went to a club and watched swing dancers dance to a great band. Rumor had it that Johnny Depp was in town that night. Anyone who knows me knows I have a major, major crush on Johnny Depp. I kept hoping we would run into him, but alas, it was not to be. Better luck next time!
Monday we went to Brevard for more hiking and waterfall viewing. Oh, it was so beautiful! So, I've been saying I wanted to get back to getting some exercise...wish granted in spades! Whew! Lots of steep uphill climbing, and Mom kept right up like a trouper. Not bad for a 73-year old, huh? And it was HOT, but totally worth it. I sat on a rock next to the waterfall by myself for a bit and thought "this is what heaven looks like." Then I started imagining how wonderful it will be the day Andy and I meet again...in a place just like this. I could see him stepping out and saying "Hi Mom!" It was a beautiful and touching moment. No one knew it, but I was crying. Thing is, they were happy tears. I have something so joyous to look forward to some day. We ate sandwiches we brought with us while sitting on a log. Isn't it amazing how good a simple sandwich tastes while you're on a hike? Yum!
So anyway, it was a wonderful weekend filled with fun and family. It doesn't get any better!