It Came from Snow: How Amicalola’s Dress Altered My Perspective

There lies within us all the power to alter our perspectives, as difficult as that choice may seem. Sometimes, however, we find perspective altered for us. Alteration can branch from the snide remark that shows someone’s true colors. It can arise from the sudden stand in the shoes of the victim when we realize who the actual bully was. Even the loss of an occupation or loved one can slip our minds more easily into an altered state of viewing the world around us. For me, on one crystallized Georgian afternoon, it came from snow.

Set against an old man’s stone expression, Amicalola Falls has always possessed the potential to grace my day with her pounding waters, pristine forestry, and Appalachian scenery. She has tried on many a summer storm, many an autumn chill, and many a winter flurry, but the snowstorm that covered her the winter of 2014 was her prettiest gown. Unbeknownst to me, this gown would grant me a new perspective on life itself.

The winter storm, long anticipated and thoroughly prepared for, struck starkly on Tuesday’s noggin without a soul able to stop it. White comforters blanketed the tiny towns across the state, and while many stayed indoors to wait it out, several visitors could not stay away from the piping new display put on by Amicalola.

The first object to catch my eye and theme to work my mind was the white purity which had encompassed the entire mountainside on the way to the falls that Friday afternoon. Snow knows no prejudice, and it touched each and every member of the forest with a heavy dose of natural pillows to aid the soul’s cold. Only the trunks of timber fully escaped the transformation, and I found that brown and white make for a compatible and complementary combination.

As I made my awed way slowly up to the falls, I looked around for Amicalola herself, but she could not be found. Indeed, the snowy dress had completely altered her appearance. Everything I had once loved of her rugged woods, with its bounty of sharp shapes and dark shades, had been sewn into a smooth landscape of a clean absence of color. Perhaps it was the rarity of the sight of a snowy mountainside in the far end of the southern Appalachians. Rather, perhaps it was the obviously opposite appearance of the usual landscape which set my mind to wondering…

When the waterfall finally appeared, or rather was first heard (despite the relations of the speed of sound and light), even it had taken on a new form. Patches of icy cotton adorned the boulders at Amicalola’s skirts, but the true transformation was in the water that eternally was chasing such boulders, never able to slow down and catch them. Snow somewhere unseen to me was melting by the sun’s invisible rays on that cloudy day, exemplifying that nothing white can stay, and was pouring down the old man’s face with a faster and heavier current than could ever be seen in a normal forest scene. This snow had altered everything.

The hike up the mountain was a magical array of natural adornments in a Narnia which I had never imagined would be available to me. My eyes were physically unable to rest upon one embellishment of Amicalola’s dress before discovering a second and a third and a fourth upon every inch of the mountainside. Closer to the top, the mountains in the distance bore their naked ribs to the world in a dazzling display of snow and tree trunk, each repeating the other in a balancing expanse of mountain range. Amicalola was not the only attendee to the wintry Appalachian jamboree.

Finally, upon the top of Amicalola, the world whispering in shaky breaths of winter below me, fields as colorless as Death around me, life as happy as possible within me, I realized the true beauty in slipping and sliding up an icy mountainside in goosebumps. We need not wait for the world to blanket our surroundings in beauty to step outside and seek it ourselves. We need not wait for a reason to be happy to go out into the world and be happy for ourselves. Beauty lies not in the dresses we slip into, but in the ones we allow ourselves to sew. To reap our own sewn happiness is to have the power of an eternal harvest.

As I departed from the mountain, sadness already creeping into the hole the snow had hollowed within me, I realized that I would take from that temporary beauty a lifelong lesson in appreciation and perspective. Just as the snow did, I possess the power to rub clean and smooth all of the edges in life when I see fit. If I carry the capabilities of snow in my pocket year-round, no sunshine will be able to melt my alteration of perceived beauty.