Off the beaten path, in the back woods of Pitt County, North Carolina lies a not so often traveled stretch of black top named Frog Level Road. This road twists and weaves its way from Highway 903 to Highway 13 through fields of cotton, corn, tobacco, soy beans, and strawberries. There is an occasional intersection, the occasional subdivision, abandoned tobacco barns overgrown with Kudzu vines, and randomly spaced farm houses. It is one of these random farm houses that captured my attention.
This house, so quaint, so picturesque, so beautiful, sits off the road just a bit, but is not set back deep into the fields. There are carefully manicured gardens around the Oaks and Pines in the yard. The front path is lined with flowers and stones leading from the gravel drive way all the way up to the front steps. It is a stereotypical Eastern North Carolina farm house; white, wood, two story, black shutters on all the windows, curtains drawn back to let in the sun, wrap around porch with gingerbread accents,rocking chairs and a swing, black tin roof. Exactly what one would expect to see when driving down through the country on a road like Frog Level Road. Just looking at this house, one could feel the compassion, warmth, and love dwelling there. One could feel the southern hospitality.
This particular morning, the old pick up truck was parked in the driveway. The front door was open, but the storm door was closed, as is typical in these parts. The elderly couple sat on the swing enjoying the warm sunshine peaking through the Oak trees, making odd shapes and shadows on the porch, on the cool autumn morning. He, in his overalls and plaid flannel shirt, reading the newspaper and enjoying his cup of coffee. His white hair barely visible under his cap.
She, next to him in her nondescript light blue dress and white sweater. There was a cat curled up in her lap whom she stroked as she sipped her coffee. At their feel lie a dog, stretched out, soaking in the warmth of the early morning sunshine. There was another dog near lying near the porch steps. These were probably his hunting dogs. Right now, though, they were comfortable on the porch, with their people, hunting sunshine.
I wanted so much to stop; to pull over and capture that moment on film. I didn’t though. I didn’t want to disrupt the serenity, the comfort, the love I could see from the road; from Frog Level Road.