Monday, November 21, 2011

Another Short Trip

There are many places in and around our county that call us to visit often.  One such place is the North Carolina Arboretum in nearby Buncombe County.  Well known throughout western NC, the Arboretum is home to a wonderful display of Bonsai trees.  During our most recent visit we saw that most of the deciduous trees had already lost their leaves.  My favorite Bonsai displays are the ones that mimic the flora in various places in the mountains.

This one represents the trees on Mount Mitchell, the highest peak East of the Rocky Mountains.

 This is a Trident Maple.  A few colored leaves remain but the little tree is mostly bare.

 In the summer, this Roan Mountain Bonsai is filled with gorgeous rhododendron blossoms.

We lamented the fact that it was so late in the fall that none of the bonsai exhibits were in bloom.  The day was absolutely gorgeous with bright sunshine and streams of clouds in the blue sky.  (Yes, Carolina blue sky.)  It was so nice that we passed on the greenhouse, preferring to be out in the wonderful weather.  The day following our trip, the Asheville newspaper had an article about all the bonsai that were in full bloom in the greenhouse.

Art work and water features are all along the paths at the Arboretum.  There is one sculpture that pulls me toward it like a magnet every time we visit.  The bronze is more than twelve feet tall and I love every inch of it.  I have taken dozens of photographs of this lovely piece of art.

Wonderfully titled, "Oh Great Spirit"

 A closer look at the face.  You might notice that behind the sculpture on this side the trees have leaves.  On the other side the trees were bare.  It's about the sunshine.

Much ado is made in mountain counties about whether or not one is "native" or a "transplant," the latter being a rather derogatory term for someone who doesn't understand mountain ways.  There are even automobile tags that read NATIVE.  I am always tempted to carry a photograph of this sculpture and show it to the next person who feel compelled to tell me he or she is native.  I will show him or her this photograph and say, "Goodness, you don't LOOK Cherokee!"

I grew up in Watauga County in higher mountains than Transylvania with more rugged country roads and harsh winters.  But since I moved to Transylvania County five years ago the residents do not consider me a native.

Author Vicki Lane (here) wrote spot-on about how the locals view newcomers.  She included the anecdote in one of her Elizabeth Goodweather books.  (here)  She has lived in a nearby mountain county for many years.  Her son was born here.  Someone once mentioned that Vicki was not a native and she replied that her son was born here so at least he is a native.  The response she got was, "Cat might have kittens in the oven but it don't make'em biscuits."

One of my friends has a typical New York accent.  We were having lunch and someone asked her, "You ain't from around here are you?"  My friend replied, "Well I wasn't born here but I got here as quick as I could."

Very near the Arboretum is the Asheville Farmer's Market.  Several warehouse buildings chock full of fresh produce, jams and jellies, nuts, etc.  It's almost a requirement that you visit there if you are in the vicinity.


dr momi said...

The arboretum sounds wonderful and the farmers market too.

Karin said...

Loved your post! Awwww, to be at the Arboretum and then not go inside to the see the Bonsai in bloom!-- That sculpture is absolutely stunning!! Thanks for sharing these photos with us.

Hubby and I have experienced several times the comments, "You're not from around here, are you? You have an accent." When we told the folks, that we were from Canada, they'd say, "No, it's a different accent than that." We always had to chuckle! Well, maybe our German roots were showing through because we enunciate clearly and speak grammatically correct, as opposed to most of our 'true' Canadjans - and yes, they slur a 'j' in there!
I love your friends answer, "No, but I got here as fast as we could."

God bless the Natives and the Transplants!!

How Sam Sees It said...

We have a beautiful arboretum near us - but no bonsai's on display! Those are really beautiful!


Vicki Lane said...

Oh, I love that maple bonsai!

Ms. A said...

I'm a first generation Texan, but my parents and grandparents are from there and some of my ancestors have Cherokee blood. However, some came from distant lands to settle in those mountains and at least one came on the Mayflower. I think your heart draws you to where you want to live, not your bloodlines.

Carol Murdock said...

Wonderful post Carolyn!I've spent half my life in Mississippi and half in Tennessee so I consider my self a half-breed in either place but home is where the heart is not where you where born. XO

Arkansas Patti said...

Love that sculpture also and you are so right, they are the only true natives. We are all immigrants and which boat your people came over on doesn't change the fact.
Where I live, if you weren't born here, you are "from off." At first I thought they were discussing my mental stability.
Most seem to not judge me harshly however for not having an Ozark ancestry.

Jill said...

I have never visited the arboretum! I now have that on my list..Beautiful Bonsai.

animal lover, quilt lover said...

I love your posts!!! Always interesting!!!
I love, well "I got here as soon as I could'!!!! Smart!!!
Yes, I am so happy for Tinker!! I am going to be 76 in Dec. and I can't run or even walk as much as a young dogs needs. Thank Goodness so far Zoie will do some running all around me and she will play ball!!
Also, so happy for my G-daughter!!! She has wanted this since she was 9 years old!!!
xx, Zoie & Fern

Anonymous said...

Beautiful bonsais. Love that sculpture too. Yes, the true native. It's an interesting thing to encounter such blatant xenophobia wrapped in a down-home country spirit.

Busy Bee Suz said...

I would spend as much time as possible at the Farmers Market and the arboretum!!!
I laughed at your talk of showing the Real Natives; Cherokee Indians!! (LOVE that sculpture too)
We have the same issue here in Florida....I might be the only native. :)

Wayfarin' Stranger said...

I think all small towns have newcomer attitudes, but I can understand the extra sensitivity of folks in western North Carolina since there has been such a huge influx. We drive through western NC frequently and I can't help lamenting the houses creeping up the mountainsides like kudzu. And I remember when Franklin was a sleepy little mountain town. We're getting the influx now, as well. Where we are it's mini horse farms with access to the Big South Fork. OBTW, we frequently stop at the Asheville Farmers' Market on our way through. Jim

Rudee said...

I love your response about the real natives!

Your photos and stories make me want to watch Last of the Mohicans again. Oh wait...maybe it's just the opportunity of watching Daniel Day Lewis in a loin cloth that does that! Either way, I love watching it and when I do, I think about touring the areas in NC where that movie was filmed.

Melissa Weisbard said...

I love those bonzai trees. I didn't know they shed their leaves. I was born and raised in Kentucky, but I've lived all over the U.S. My husband is from Arizona, but he's lived in Kentucky for almost 12 years now and he still makes fun of Kentuckians and rednecks. LOL

NCmountainwoman said...

Thanks for your comments, everyone.

Karin - LOL

Sam - Still got our fingers and paws crossed.

Ms A and others - I totally agree. It's the heart, not the birthplace.

Wayfarin' - Guilty here as well. I just hate the over-development. That is exactly why we live in a gated community that preserves trees and wildlife.

Rudee - Much of The Last of the Mohicans was filmed right here in Transylvania County. I love it for the music and scenery. Oh, yes, and the loin cloths.

Melissa - The bonsai versions of the trees act like their large relatives, turning in the fall and dropping their leaves.