Many years ago I spent a few days in Cape May, N. J. I had not gone for the beach, but to see the historical town and its Victorian houses. One afternoon I joined a walking tour of the town and the knowledgeable guide told the history of many houses and pointed out all the details of each. I remember him telling the group the purpose of the intricate gingerbread was not only to decorate the eaves and porches, but also to cast shadows of its various shapes onto the house. Skeptical of his interpretation for the finely turned gingerbread, I took a walk-through town when the sun was lower in the sky, and I found the treasures that he had described. Before that afternoon I had only seen the gingerbread of any house in one dimension. It was just a good decoration on various parts of a house, but that afternoon walking the quiet streets of Cape May I saw another reel of the past film.
This morning’s ride was the first since the spring equinox that occurred on March 20, two day ago. Because of the recent cloudy weather, and the earth’s tilt, the sunrise I witnessed was markedly different than the ones last week. Riding the stationary bike in the shadow of our home, the sun is out of sight as it rises over Lake Norman, but its rays show on the tall poplar across the road. The leafless branches of the tree hold streams of the sunlight before it moves on to lighten the shorter trees and lower trunks of the varied pines. Before too many minutes on the bike, I see that its light highlights the crepe myrtles in Brenda and Bill’s yard. Since their row of crepe myrtles have not been crepe murdered, their branches flow skyward in a graceful reach. Yet, I looked beyond the bare branches to see their shadows on the house and had another view of a day’s breaking and its gingerbread.
In Hold Everything Dear, John Berger writes, “A mountain stays in the same place, and can almost be considered immortal, but to those who are familiar with the mountain, it never repeats itself.” Since moving to Lake Norman and taking my morning rides on the driveway, I have become familiar with the pine trees, lake, road, sunrises, sunsets, and walking neighbors. Like Berger’s mountain, they are not immortal and all are the same each day, but never repetitious.