Saturday, August 30, 2014

Something More to This


          Watching a beautiful sunrise from afar…a vista that is hard to describe in words. That’s what many a pro photographer captures by getting up obscenely early or hanging around late afternoon for just the right light, assuming no rogue clouds will drift and spoil the party. You don’t see details or touch the beauty. 

      Hiking the trails deep within the bowels of a place is where you meet it intimately. Touching the inner being, running fingertips across its intricate details that after a while you can interpret like a blind person reading braille. Second nature; when all else is removed and you are immersed in detail. Such an odd fact that down in the trenches you can’t see the big picture, or the vista. Doesn’t seem as pretty but you’ll discover what it’s really all about. 

      But you don’t end up leaving with euphoria that turns to emptiness, like there is something more, something deeper that was missed. It parallels with satisfaction of digging into details of any endeavor. Not just starting, enjoying the initial euphoria, and moving on when details change over to cumbersome. A special sense of accomplishment is waiting at the end of a project, like the pot of gold that most never see because they don't chase their personal rainbow past the uncomfortable storms that precede it.

      I love to touch the rocks, count the different types of pine cones, watch nature unfold at its own pace, rock-hop over a stream so deep into the woods that voices and road noise are a distant memory, while I immerse myself in a strange new world. Nature has a way of healing the wounds of life.


Saturday, August 9, 2014

Writing and Inspiration

I sat at our dining room table this evening, finishing a chapter of the novel I have been working on for some time. It's grown to somewhat of a runaway snowball tumbling down a hillside, getting larger and larger until I wonder if it will ever stop. But I keep writing, regardless.

My brother-in-law and I were talking this afternoon, and the subject came up of things we enjoy that aren't really an essential thing to our financial well being or critical in other areas, such as spiritual or health related. My writing is a passion that takes me out of the ordinary and into a world where anything is possible;  failure can be avoided with a handful of keystrokes, life's problems become a dull ache that really don't mean a lot in the big picture, and whee I can become absorbed in someone's world other than my own to the point reality doesn't even matter, for a time.

I can express myself on my terms and take all the time I need. Once finished, it's there forever. Yes, writing gives us a chance of immortality.

As I sat here into early stages of darkness the thunder in the distance turned louder, and a soft, gentle rain began to fall, tickling the leaves outside and playing a harmonious tune. It blended with a symphony of unseen musicians, their performance not as individuals, but a wall of sound that filled the air from all directions. Then a trail came in from the west, a low whistle that soon turned into  a rumble and scream.

Now the magic has gone in hiding. The trains have passed, and rain showers are further down the road, singing its tune to a new group of people, some who will see it as simply a nuisance. For me, life is a new adventure about to happen. Sometimes I'm disappointed, but I don't miss nearly as much as I used to.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Alum Cave to Mt. LeConte

I took a whirlwind vacation around July 4th weekend this year. The main attraction was a long-planned family reunion in North Carolina, but I took advantage and headed up into the Smokies on Wednesday afternoon 7/2, catching a quick hike at Clingman's Dome.

The next morning I headed to the Alum Cave trail head, and after listening on on a ranger's instructions for a large group she was leading up to the bluffs I headed out.

Sounds of the river are mesmerizing on this first section of the trail. It's enough to put me into another world. The water whispers its secrets to anyone who takes the time to properly tune in.

                                          The bluffs are a sight you have to see in person. Not an easy place to express with a camera. On up past the bluffs I passed Gracie's Pulpit, and thought of her singing her hymns here as she rested and took in the views. Further up the steel cables become common, and you get to experience the rock ledges that are perfectly safe in July with no ice or snow, but they just might catch your breath if heights bother you.

This turned out to be my second trip to the LeConte Lodge, the other being a 13.8 mile hike last spring with my daughter, up Rainbow Falls and down Bullhead. This time I started solo, but met up with a gentleman who turned out to be a good hiking partner for the day. Lots of interesting stories, and someone who enjoys nature as much as I do.

Despite it being 7/3, the temps were milder than normal with no rain. At the top the fog was packed in so thick I thought I felt rain. The llamas were camped at the top, resting for their journey back down Trillium. Seems they got the holiday off on Friday, so a rare Thursday delivery of supplies was scheduled.

The trail is a classic. My first trip to the lodge via Alum, and it's one I'll do again.

The next morning I got up early, with maybe four hours of sleep, and drove across North Carolina on Friday 7/4. In between a great reunion I also visited Fort Macon and the Outer Banks on days trips from the house. As I drove past Alligator River Wildlife Refuge I looked down a dirt road on my right and watched a black bear go across the road. Another place I'll return to for a second pass.