Madness in March

It is madness in March*–especially in the mountains of Western North Carolina–to dream that a couple of warm days mean spring is nearly here. A couple of warm days is just that: a couple of warm days. We’ve had them this week–beautiful, blue-sky days with temperatures in the 70’s…but you just can’t trust ’em. The Bradford pear trees up and down Biltmore Avenue might have been fooled into blooming, but those trees are always foolish like that.

February 2009 was mostly gray and cold and miserable, and if there is global warming, WNC hasn’t gotten the message yet. As the old-timers say, “I grew up so far back in a hollow that we had to pipe in sunshine–and we only got it about three hours a day!”

Speaking of old-timers, here’s a legend for you: the Bride & Groom of Pisgah. (That’s Mt. Pisgah**, if you’re not from around here, but mostly it’s just Pisgah.)

The Legend
Anyway, legend has it that a young couple fell in love, but their parents (or maybe just the girl’s father) didn’t want them to marry. They were so much in love, however, that they decided to run away and get married, even without parental blessings. The couple planned everything in secret, and one cold, snowy night, the young man came to the girl’s house and they stole away under cover of darkness. Her father found out and chased after them. The couple ran up on Pisgah to get away from him, but the father was close behind, threatening to kill the young man. Unfortunately, it was so cold and dark and icy that the young couple missed the path and fell off the mountain (or maybe they froze to death; depends on who’s telling the story). The girl’s father found them, and knew he’d caused the tragedy. Forever after, so the legend goes, whenever it’s cold and snowy, you can see the “bride and groom” in their wedding finery on the side of Pisgah.

"Bride & Groom" on Mt. Pisgah
“Bride & Groom” of Mt. Pisgah

From a distance, it really does look like a man (left) standing beside a woman (right) in a veil and a long dress. Yes, it’s obviously a rock formation that ices over and stands out white in the winter…but isn’t the legend of the “Bride & Groom of Pisgah” a much nicer way of describing it?

(I’m actually guilty of thinking the formation looks a little bit like a matador waving his cape [the groom’s head could be that odd little hat-thing bullfighters wear, and the bride could be the cape], but I prefer the original. It’s not my story, exactly, but I’m sticking to it!)

*If you stumbled across this post looking for Asheville So-Con or other basketball-related “March Madness,” you’re barking up the wrong blog!

**The original Mt. Pisgah is in the present-day country of Jordan. In the Old Testament, God spoke to Moses and said, “Get thee up into the top of Pisgah, and lift up thine eyes westward, and northward, and southward, and eastward, and behold [it] with thine eyes: for thou shalt not go over this Jordan.” (Deuteronomy 3:27).

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