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.
The cool morning air glides gently off of mountain and pools over the water’s surface. The only sounds I hear are chirps of dawn chorus as song birds wake from their perches and greet the day. An ancient mud turtle leaves his nest on the bank and swims to a sandbar and begins to sun himself. I drop the tailgate of my big blue truck and carry my camera in one hand and my coffee cup in the other. I only have a few minutes to soak in the peaceful morning but I only need a frame or two. I keep an eye out for the eagle that I spotted a while back. I’m hoping that God has ordained another meeting for us. I really want a good shot of him catching his breakfast. I have played out the scene in my imagination nearly every day but so far he’s managed to avoid being captured by my lens. There’s been a near misses where he’s just a fuzzy dot in the sky. Perseverance will pay off eventually. These are the thoughts I was having with my morning coffee when I noticed how gracefully the willow bent over to touch the water. The branches seemed to bounce playfully as the river lapped at the twigs. With the eagle successfully eluding the camera and the coffee running out I decided that the willow would be my subject of the day. I think that sometimes God allows us to have a goal that’s just outside of reach so that we will stretch ourselves. After all, it’s the moment that we rise to the challenge that we become more than we were yesterday. It’s more about the effort than the success. I believe that eventually I’ll take a great photo of that eagle. It will be a bittersweet moment for me because I have truly enjoyed the chase.
I have been convinced that nothing is impossible with enough planning and effort. I remember that long winding road through the mountains before they built the New River Gorge Bridge. The road was barely wide enough for one vehicle. I also remember the naysayers who claimed that the construction would never be completed and that the span was way too far. I think several people died building the superstructure but I couldn’t find a statistic. The completion of the bridge was monumental. It erased a large portion of the isolation of my area and opened up a lot of economic growth.
Sometimes we as humans have a tendency to isolate ourselves. It might take a monumental effort to bridge the gap between ourselves and others but the effort to bring us together opens up opportunity for something wonderful.
I remember wearing my dad’s work boots when I was a little kid. The tops his boots came to my knees. I clopped around the house carrying his big lunch box which I had filled with Little Debbie’s Snack Cakes telling people that I was going to work. I could barely stand up in dad’s boots. My dad taught me to work hard. He was a telephone lineman and I can remember times when the phone would ring in the middle of the night. A storm had brought down the lines on some windy ridge and dad would be called out with his partner to restore service. In the days before mobile phones a downed line could be a matter of life and death for people with health issues. As I began to grow I became obsessed with the day I would be as tall as dad. I would beg him to stand back to back with me so mom could compare our height. It was dad who first taught me hunt. I can still see him knelt down on the old logging road pointing out the difference between buck and doe tracks. As the years passed my dad imparted a lot of the attributes that make me who I am today. And, even though I’m several inches taller than he is I still can’t fill his shoes.
A balmy breeze sweeps across the open field gently shaking the tall grasses. Just outside the frame the sweet scent of roses finds it way to the spot where we’re just taking in the warmth. The curious little hoverfly buzzes up our faces for a better look at the giants who have come to visit his space. I heard you giggle slightly when he landed on the end of my nose just make sure that I wasn’t some strangely tall flower. Satisfied that I wasn’t a good source of pollen or nectar he lifted off once more and returned to the daisy. This is perfect spot for our time together. We spread out the old blanket that we keep in the back of car for emergencies. It’s our getaway time. No agendas. No responsibilities. Just time to lay down and watch the world. We look at clouds and make up stories about the shapes we see. We laugh and talk until the birds singing transitions into crickets. Just before the last rays of the sun disappear behind the mountains the little hoverfly returns. I couldn’t help but giggle when he landed on your nose too.
It was a perfect day but we can’t stay here forever. We gather our blanket and put it in its place in the back of the car until the next perfect day. Which I hope is tomorrow.
Just a quick note to my regular readers. I’m sorry that there’s been no post over the past few days. My internet connection was knocked out by a tree that fell on the line and there’s no public access where I live. I hope to be back on track now that service has been fully restored.
It’s a common occurrence in the Appalachian Mountains. Thunder booms and the wind seems to bounce from one mountainside to the other. Every region thinks it’s storms are the worst but the truth is that the worst storm is the one that catches you by surprise. As mentioned above one such storm recently knocked out communication and electric services for my area which temporarily transported us to the nineteenth century. Okay, maybe not quite that bad. We brought the solar powered lawn lights inside after the sun set and watched movies that were loaded onto our mobile devices. I used a small battery pack to keep anything not capable of being charged in the sun at full power and made limited use of the charging system in our vehicles. Fortunately (or unfortunately depending on point of view) I didn’t have drag the gas grill out of storage this time. But, we adapted to the conditions.
Storms are not always wind, rain and thunder though. Sometimes it’s more emotional or spiritual. Like the natural storms they can come up without warning and leave you alone in the dark. You might wonder how you’re going to get by. You might not have alternative lighting and such. But, let me tell you. God has built you to be stronger than you know and God’s got your back. He didn’t go to all the trouble of creating you as the special individual that you are just to leave you alone when you need him most. The storm will pass.
One of the things that I look forward to in the summer is when friends gather together just to hang out. We make little mini holiday as a framework. There will be Homecoming Sundays at churches and family reunions in addition to the birthday parties and anniversary celebrations all summer long. We’ve been holed up in house for winter and any excuse to get out into the sun is a good one. We see old friends and acquaintances in the parks having lunch just because it’s Tuesday or Wednesday. Mankind was meant to be social. It’s our nature to be together for at least a little while. Even the grumpy old curmudgeon wants someone to curmudge for.
Here in the Appalachian mountains of West Virginia such gatherings are often accompanied by live music. Typically a “gospel sing” will feature bluegrass style music and a potluck dinner.
Whatever the occasion or excuse it’s all about coming together in fellowship and brotherhood. All that’s needed is a warm day, chores that are finished and good friends.