The beauty of Paris Mountain in the day. Viewed from a distance, she is the first blue wave of the Blue Ridge, a silent single line heading north, forming, building, eventually tilting, but never crashing or rushing back, a captivating still frame of swelling beauty, perpetually coming. The tide coming in—or maybe going out—one final breaker heading south, spilling, fizzing, ultimately disappearing into the Piedmont.
If not a wave, she is a work of art. A nubile goddess with an androgynous name. Her sensual body is as long and lithe as Aphrodite of Cnidus but Praxiteles is not responsible. God’s Great Flood sculpted her with mathematical precision and placed her belly down, head resting on muscled arms, a sleeping nymph with legs and feet stretching all the way to the city’s edge. That’s the view from Caesar’s Head and any man with eyes to see will find himself staring, maybe even blushing, or perhaps falling in love with this erotic woman.
A long-legged southern lady, feminine, attractive, properly clothed with flowers every spring, her conjugal mysteries veiled, breasts perspiring, breath sweet as tea. Buzzing just beneath her patterned dress, she fans herself in the honeyed breeze of pollinating bees, dreaming private things. Her poker face reveals nothing. The only hint comes like the dawning awareness of Eve, who, having bitten the forbidden fruit, suddenly understands her nakedness. Syrupy juice drips from lips wearing a Mono Lisa smile. All her trails must be explored.
Her beauty at night. Paris has a pulse. Radio towers blink red at the center of her chest. One lover comforts another, “Whenever you doubt, look up and be reminded that my heart beats only for you, day and night.” Hope throbs in the darkness and glows in the shadows of their uncertainty. The two-thousand-foot summit, once a black wall, no longer separates but unites with lights. Occasionally, storms will come, clouds descend, and everything disappears. It seems the breathtaking girl got up and walked away. There is no longer any pulse. But it’s only a trick.
July 4th. Independence Day. The mountain is a monadnock: she stands alone. Fireworks burst from her side. The grand finale comes in a series of thump, thump, thumps, rocketing upward, popping, booming, and bursting with a celebratory thunder. A rainbow of color sprays high into the sky before falling back to the earth, biodegradable glitter and confetti, seen for miles. Mountains in the distance watch with admiration and jealousy. After every shot has been fired, suddenly, all is quiet again. There is only ringing in the ears. Sulfur smoke settles over Sulphur Springs and vanishes like ghosts going home after the show. The coyotes wait until all is clear before resuming their search party, yipping and howling like wild Indians into the night, circling and tracing the length of her spine.
In the fall, she wears yellow, orange, and scarlet; in the winter, sometimes white, but she always adorns the length of her naked body with gold and silver necklaces of Christmas lights, like Cassiopeia. No. At the end of each year, Paris is a galaxy, a mountainous wave of stars, heaven coming down, throbbing, pulsing, living. Alive. Thawing cold hearts. Waiting for another spring. A woman for all seasons.