Summer Solstice Tree
Blue Ridge Mountains, Saluda, North Carolina
Like white lace curtains
the frothy Pacolet
swishes over Pearson’s Falls,
turns ink-black flirting
in the shade of leaved limbs
stretching like Adam’s arm
toward the Almighty.
Skirts hydrangea white and wild,
scent of mint,
and black bear scat roasting in sun.
Thrums his jazz tune ever improv
nudges a block of rock
set in by a childlike god
where a tiny tree
stands alone on the mossy stone
rooted in today.
Magic on the Pacolet
At a time in human history when dystopian movies and literature and news reports of global warming’s dire consequences breed like mosquitos in an algae-encrusted pond, it’s good to know there is a place called Pearson’s Falls.
That’s why I included poems celebrating nature, such as “Summer Solstice Tree,” in my cautionary, eco-feminist, book, Gaia’s Cry.
Visitors approach Pearson’s Falls, located on the Pacolet River just outside Saluda, N.C., through a rhododendron draped glade on a path alongside the mountain river that sings a merry tune. The Tryon Garden Club, which maintains the site, nourishes ferns, wildflowers and other native flora.
This time of year, fairy wand, Solomon’s seal, Canada and green violets, and rare Carolina rhododendron, as pretty as it is toxic, shyly display their beauty. Majestic trilliums have bloomed their best and have retired until next year when they will robustly announce spring.
When the wheel turns to Summer Solstice, the longest day of the year in the northern hemisphere, they say fairy magic is at its most powerful. On the walk to the falls, water droplets drip from moss-laden rock ledges where ferns and wispy grasses hide from the sun.
As you walk beside the glen, you may glimpse furtive action behind the leaves, but when you try to capture the movement with a bold stare, all is still, twitching only as stirred by breeze. Fairies are mischievous, and one mustn’t irritate them. So, if you can spare a spot in your garden or patio, no matter how small, set out a gift on Midsummer’s Eve of wine, butter, honey or cakes along with a bit of ribbon in scarlet, yellow or gold.