Sunday, October 9, 2016

Learning is painful

Light filtered through trees as brown leaves floated gently on wind. Sky, brilliant blue, held tight the secret of a lingering hurricane. Hummers hummed filling with sweet nectar. Today would be a good day, a beautiful gift waiting to be unwrapped.

In the kitchen, sandwiches stacked, I packed. We were going on a picnic! It was one of our favorite things to do. Surrounded by leaves and trees, we could forget. Worries melt away outdoors. We needed this day. There had been too much work and too much stress. We longed for peace. 

Along winding tree filled roads we traveled. Farmland spread wide and free. Cows dotted pastures and large hay rolls sat sentry. The sun illuminated nature's glorious canvas. My eyes memorized as hubby chauffeured. Expectations voiced, we continued forward. 

Dowdell's Knob
An hour passed and we'd reached our destination, F.D.R. State Park, Georgia's largest state park. It'd been a while since we'd been here and we'd forgotten. Today we'd remember sitting atop Dowdell's Knob overlooking King's Gap. Gathering our things, we marched across the parking lot intent on finding "our spot." There, just along the ridge of Pine Mountain, huge boulders rested. Selecting a gently sloping stone, we sat. Silently, we awed. The wide expanse of the world lay before us. Hanging gently in the blue, a train of clouds ran along the horizon, remnants of the storm. On the boulder, we felt the sun's warm caress. Sandwiches came out and were devoured. We hadn't realized how ravenous we'd become. Visitors gathered for photos. None of them stayed long. We continued our meal soaking up beauty like a sponge. Soon the sun's heat became too much. Although a breeze had been blowing, sweat had been building. We rose ready for our next destination. Not wanting to leave, I turned to make mental note of the scene. 

Franklin Delano Roosevelt knew.  This was the perfect place, his thinking place. Thoughts jumbled banging the sides of my skull. Impossible to focus with people milling about. Their comings and goings distracting. Had I missed the moment I'd longed for, the simple solitude of being? Had we been too quick to leave this place of serenity? I quietly mourned.

Longing for more, we hiked. Leaves crinkled and crunched underneath the weight of our shoes. Padding through the forest our eyes fixed. The path, evident, led us deeper. Acorn sprinkled ground, Fall was nearing. Squirrels and birds voiced disapproval at our approaching. And then I saw it. An ugly mound of brokenness in the midst of beauty. Glass and rust mingled together. We stopped ashamed. Trash. Ugly mountain of refuse from ages past. Why? Why? We discussed this mess of things used and abused before moving on. Disgusting and painful to see, evidence of commercialism in the heart of nature. A thorn in God's creation. And life is much the same. Completing our hike, we turned to retreat. Sweat dripping from brow, we longed for water. Revival in a swig from the bottle. Our feet moved faster.
The path

Hours passed. Sitting, we realized our exhaustion. Thankful for air conditioning, we drove on. There was still much to see and much to do. Determined to make the most of the day, we did. 

The sun hung low as we worked our way past fields covered in shadows of late day. A sigh of relief was breathed between us. Silence golden as the gentle hum of riding almost lulled us to sleep. Home sweet home! We'd made it. Thankful, we paused savoring moments given today. It had been a good day. Lingering longer would have made it better. Next time. 

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