Our last full day with our Australian friends before they headed back to Melbourne dawned gray and bleak. I am pretty sure the weather managed to achieve the maximum level of bleakness possible for a sun-less day in January in Pittsburgh. Around about 3pm we congregated around the dining room table, some of us exhausted from the endless chauffeuring that weekends bring, others exhausted from packing and re-packing suitcases, and all of us with spirits that matched the weather. Fortunately Gillian happened to scroll back to a photo of McConnell's Mill I sent her last year, and when she showed it to me, I said, "Let's go."
My expectations, frankly, were low. I anticipated muddy paths against a background of boring grays and browns. It wasn't the way I wanted them to experience one of my very favorite places. But it had to beat moping around the table, we figured, and sure enough it did. In fact, McConnells Mill did more than that. It surprised and delighted all of us in spite of the overcast skies. A thin layer of snow increased the natural beauty of the setting, and as the light began to fade, more flakes began falling. It added the perfect touch to a day that suddenly seemed beautiful rather than dreary, peaceful rather than tense, and invigorating rather than dull. Not bad for this modest-but-lovely little corner north of Pittsburgh.