We built our riverside house on an amazing piece of land paid for by the publication of Midnight Lemonade. It faces the Eggleston Cliffs, also known as The Palisades. The design and materials of the house aimed to blend with—rather than intrude upon—the towering stone ridge rising above the second oldest river in the world. Someone recently asked if I could describe the colors of the cliffs:
The cliffs—without any play of light—are granite gray with drizzles of darker gray and black. They are ridged and, perhaps like the rings in a massive felled tree, the ridges represent time. Maybe each ripple ten million years, or a hundred million?
In summer the gray recedes, leans away from the river to nestle into open limbs of green, all the greens of summer: apple green, forest green, mint, pine…. The cliffs reflect on the clear surface of the river so perfectly that it is difficult to separate the real from the reflection.
The autumn cliffs appear closer, moving through the warmth of leafy flames, deep maroons, reds, and bright yellows, orange. And as the leaves blow or fritter away, the cliffs come even closer, become grayer. The river nudges the feet of the cliffs with a rusty crust of floating leaves.
During winter the sheer stone is very close and seems higher, prison gray except when the snow comes. Depending on how long it snows, and how light the snow, the cliffs might fancy themselves up with flouncing ruffles of lace. If the snow is heavy, the cliffs turn Viennese, become gigantic dark pastries mounded with fluffed sugar frosting. Winter turns the river a deep shade of jade.
Spring sprinkles the cliffs, breathing pale green vapors into the contours, and then startles with redbud pinks and wild cherry whites. When spring storms are not swelling and browning the river, it ripples below the sheer stone like pale tinted bottle glass.
Near sunset, on a day of sun—no matter the season-- the cliffs amaze and never ever hold the exact same colors. We have seen sea shell pink and oranges more vivid than autumn’s pumpkins, maple and poplar trees. We have seen lemon yellow, blood red, shimmering pale blue, azure, indigo; golds so bright that they light up the inside of our house.