Buried beneath mounds of blankets, intoxicated on hot cocoa, and nearly suffocating from candle therapy, I saw it.
It was sunshine!
Sometimes the month of January can be overloaded with gray. The cold air and dismal weather tend to trigger hibernation. Simply opening the door seems to be a crime. But not today. --- It was a chance to capture fresh air and go on an adventure.
I jumped into my red pickup truck and headed west towards the Blue Ridge Mountains. The sky was the famous “Carolina Blue”. It always has a way of triggering a smile. Today wasn’t any exception. Cold? Sure, but I just didn’t care. Having grown up in the Midwest, I am most acquainted with the exhilaration of inhaling frigid air. It has a way of clearing your head. I breathed deep. --- Ahhh..it still works.
The sun cast shadows through the barren trees upon the blacktop roads. Funny, I thought that it looked like fine Belgian lace! --- No music was playing. Just the sound of the wind and hum of the tires.
There is a true beauty to the land at this time of year. While vegetation may be minimal, the land, itself, seems to take center stage. One can easily see the shape of it and the livestock upon it. Some fields had a few horses while others had a herd of cows. Being post-lunch time, the cows seemed to be enjoying a siesta of sorts. They sprawled about in little congregations facing the sun, creating their own hygge. A peace seemed to prevail among them. I got the feeling that I wasn’t the only one enjoying the day.
I had a destination: A Barn Quilt Trail.
Various rural counties throughout the state have been organizing the creation of Quilt Trails. This endeavor is a joint effort by each county’s Tourism Bureau and Art’s Council. Much like a lapel pin or diamond broach, farmers are adorning their barns, buildings, and homes with a decorative quilt square. Each pattern is unique and titled. The county creates a map of the participating sites for visitors to initiate their own scavenger hunt to find them.
It is a terrific way to enjoy the sights of rural America. The quilt trail purpose is to honor quilting traditions, beautify the community, promote cultural heritage tourism, and farming traditions.
Following my map, I puttered from site-to-site. While most quilt squares were in easy sight, others were a bit hidden and required a second or third drive by to find. It was fun. It gave a feeling of unity. A feeling of pride.