I have to admit that I have never been in a kayak before. I’ve always had small rowboats. Still, there’s a strong sense of freedom that comes from gliding over the water and going someplace that you’ve never been. I guess that it’s the perception of a broken barrier. We seem to crave a life without any restrictions. Thanks to Hollywood our perspective of what constitutes an adventure is colored by images of Indiana Jones trudging through the jungle or people in some life and death struggle with the elements. But adventure can be as simple as deciding to do something new. It doesn’t even have to be a thousand miles away from home. In fact there’s a lot to be said for having a warm bed and WiFi when the sun goes down. But I digress. My Appalachian Mountains are full of rivers and streams with all kinds of little coves and hidden beauty to explore. I have been told by a friend that while exploring a local river he found a hidden cash of prehistoric stone points. (I’m sworn to secrecy as to the exact spot on which river). Even the little creek that runs through my yard has yielded a few fossils. But the best reward we get from our rivers is the tranquility that comes from peacefully floating around and going wherever your heart takes you.
As summer season comes to a close in the Appalachian Mountains it’s important to enjoy the sunshine as often as possible. Already the morning air is beginning to feel crisp and cool. As we draw nearer to September the afternoon is generally warm but without the oppressive humidity of July and early August. It’s a great time for a walking some ignored backroad or forest path. Occasionally I meet a fitness walker who’s just trying burn off a few extra scoops of ice cream, but I’m here simply to decompress from the day. I turn off the music and podcasts. Let my Facebook notices wait a bit and keep an eye towards the roadsides. I’m looking for anything interesting to catch in my lens. The little tortoise shell butterflies dance and play in sunbeams as I walked. The one in my feature image circles around my head a few times as if to say “Look at me! Look at me!” And begins a game of catch me if you can. First it lands on some golden rod and I step over for shot. Before I can focus it flutters over to an elderberry bush on the opposite side of road. Then it’s off to explore some red clover. I’m trying to keep it in frame and getting a better workout than the fitness walker who giggled slightly as she passed. Finally the little guy comes to rest on the lespedeza and unfolds it’s beautiful wings for me. Who needs a personal trainer when mother nature is so playful?
My Appalachian Mountains are full of wildlife. Directly across from the trees I posted yesterday is a cattail forest. Just standing on the edge of the road I could see how diverse the wetland. Climbing up one of cattail stalks a wild Morning Glory. And climbing up the Morning Glory was a tiny Crab Spider. Now, Crab Spiders are not particularly dangerous to humans. In fact, usually they are welcomed in gardens. They are often brightly colored and sometimes have beautiful patterns on their bodies. The colors and patterns are part of their natural camouflage. The little spider crawled across the bloom and backed down into the center and set up it’s ambush. I closed in for a tighter frame and I could almost hear a tiny voice in my imagination say, “Psst, move along. You’re scaring away my prey.” “Okay little hunter. But, no more stringing your web across my path. Deal? I replied in my imaginary voice. “Okay deal, now get outta here” was the imaginary reply. With my childish impulses well satisfied I snapped the shutter and left the little guy to his hunting.
I’ve always liked to just sit quietly by the water and look at the reflections. The shallow waters of Muddlety Creek is a great place for thinking time. On this particular day I was looking at these trees and bushes. The rest of the world just faded away into nothingness leaving only the occasional ripple where a small sunfish broke the surface. Tiny tortoise shell butterflies darted through the tall grasses stopping only for a moment to catch their breath. Sapphire blue Damselflies hover just above the water and the only sounds are the songbirds calling out from some hidden branches. A slight mist drifts in the breeze and droplets form tiny jewels at the tips of each leaf. I found myself wishing for a boat. I wanted to paddle upstream just to see what treasures lay just inside the trees. The mist began to thicken into a sprinkle and I knew it was time to move on. Placing my camera back into its case I climbed up into my big blue truck and took my journey just a little further down the quiet country road and on to my next destination. I’ll definitely be back to this spot.
The Bible says that Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
I have been reminded today of what my true treasure on earth is. My true treasure is the love and friendship that has been poured into my life from all over the world. Truly I am a very blessed man indeed. If the Lord blesses me with another fifty years I still wouldn’t have enough time to show you how much I am truly touched by your love and friendship.
Drifting silently among the willow sprouts she comes. The heavy fog keeps her hidden from the outside world. Her only goal is to enjoy some quiet time and listen for the voice of God as He speaks peace to her soul. It’s in the early morning hours that she gathers her strength and prepares for the day ahead. She is thankful for the new day and her moment of being at rest.
The rhythmic thunder of the the train pulsates through my body. I’m on a journey to a new and unknown place. My ticket is stamped with the words “Somewhere Else”. Just beyond the river a tunnel under the mountain comes into view. It stands there as a gateway out of here. Wherever here is. My spirit is longing for escape from the mundane. I want to see new faces and open skies. A mist hangs across the end of tunnel like a curtain ready to be drawn back to reveal the surprise of my life. What could possibly be on the other side of that mountain? A beautiful meadow? Yes, I think so. If I can dream it that way. In my imagination I can clearly see a field full of wildflowers. I can smell the sweetness of Bergamot as the train slowly rolls through. Ruby throated hummingbirds buzz across the field feeding on the sweet nectar from the bloom. The train whistle drones out and reverberates against the mountains that surround this special place. Steam erupts from the valves as we come to a stop and the brake is set. As the chugging of the engine ceases the air if filled with the buzzing of bees as they join the hummingbirds in working the flowers. The conductor walks by and announces “rest stop”. A gazebo stands in the middle of the field and I walk over to enjoy the scene. This is the perfect spot to be lost; until I am ready to move on.