If Spring Comes, Can Winter Be Far Behind?
I awoke this morning to the sounds of frogs croaking, robins singing and daffodils pushing their way through crusty flowerbeds.
And, no, I did not take an early vacation in Florida.
This is still North Carolina and even in North Carolina we expect February to bring us some snow and ice. Kids expect snow days from school, and grocery stores depend on hyperventilating weather forecasters to send thousands of people driving like idiots to clean out their overstocked shelves of bread and milk.
Selfishly, this wonderful weather makes me nervous. I feel like the guy on television who finds a car left on the street with the keys in it, jumps in and takes a joy ride, only to discover four blocks away, as the police surround the car and slap the cuffs on him, that it was a setup.
When I was in college, I worked afternoons and Saturdays as a roofer, slopping tar or carrying bundles of shingles on my shoulder up a two-story aluminum ladder. My paycheck each week was totally dependent on the weather, and I often swore that I would never have a job that put me at the mercy of the sky.
And, yet for the past 25 years, I have spent most of January and February reading long-range weather forecasts, studying the stripes on woolly bear caterpillars, and watching the Weather Channel.
So much for my choice of jobs ….
But as anyone who has attended any of the previous 24 Arts & Crafts Conferences at the Grove Park Inn here in Asheville will tell you, regardless of the weather, the show does go on. Although we are in the Blue Ridge Mountains, warm southern breezes tend to blunt those wandering jet streams towing frigid air down from Canada. When a winter storm does arrive, it generally only disrupts our lives for twenty-hour hours.
So, when necessary, we make adjustments in our schedule and we band together. The bellmen throw a few extra logs on the fire in the Great Hall and we pull the rocking chairs a little closer. No different, really, than they did at the Grove Park Inn nearly a century ago.
And so next Monday we will begin making preparations for our annual migration to the Grove Park Inn. Some of you early birds will arrive even before I do, taking the opportunity to spend a few days exploring Asheville, driving up the Blue Ridge Parkway, playing on a restored Donald Ross golf course, soaking in their award-winning Arts & Crafts spa, or just sitting in the Great Hall and catching up with friends.
Whether you come for a week or just for an afternoon, whether you are drawn here by the shows, the seminars or your treasured Arts & Crafts friends, it is an experience you cannot duplicate anywhere else.
As I have often observed, if you had come to the Grove Park Inn in 1913, you could have relaxed in Old Hickory rockers, read beneath Roycroft lights, slept in an Arts & Crafts bed, and bought Newcomb College, Pisgah Forest and Roseville pottery.
And if you come next week, you still can.
But if you can’t, but are curious how the events are unfolding — and whether the frogs are frozen in the ice or the robins are wearing scarves — log back in, as I will be writing a daily column from the Grove Park Inn, sharing with you the news from Sunset Mountain each morning.
Until next Monday,
Have a great week!