Two beautiful weekends of Indian Summer just past; last weekend I thought of all the shoulds and oughts first: I could weed a badly overgrown veggie garden, and put it to bed for winter:
Or maybe I should clear the windfall tree that fell onto my labyrinth in the last big storm:
Nah. I didn't want to do either one of those things. I'd have had to go get my chain saw back from the sharpening shop to clear the tree, and I just didn't feel like weeding and mulching on such a gorgeous day. But then there's the brush pile that needs burning -- I love a bonfire!
Or there's the brush pile behind the church -- even bigger and more in need of a burn!
But really, you can see by the light even in these pictures, that the day was calling me -- calling me to something way beyond work. This day wanted to be admired and adored, savored and enjoyed. The day called me to do what I wanted to do -- asked me how best to make use of this one wild and precious day.
So I started out with a bike ride that made me feel wild and free, like a kid again, really, exploring roads I'd never taken, panting my way up small hills (hey, I do live in the mountains here!), scaring myself a little bit with the speed of the downhill coasts. What fun! I was having too much fun (and too out of breath) to take pictures of my ride. But when I got home, the day still beckoned, and I went for a solitary walk in the woods behind the church.
Our church is blessed with 18.8 acres of property, only about 3 acres of which is cleared. The other 15 acres or so is woodland, complete with a rough, overgrown gravel roadbed-path laid by a previous owner. So I set off down the path, through the woods, across the creek:
And on back through that particularly beautiul slant of light that only comes in the fall. First I checked on the tumble-down A-frame that used to be someone's fishing cabin:
Then I took a look at what I think was once a hunting blind -- someone told me it looks like the top to a silo -- but I always fancied it to be a flying saucer:
Ah, what fun I would have had with this, when I was a kid! It would have been the ultimate clubhouse, spaceship, playhouse, fort, teepee, whatever my iimagination could have conjured!
Finally, I came to the pond. Please don't tell my dogs I came here without them!
Ah, the light was so perfect and round, the sky so blue that I sat down right there for a time to watch some small fish, listen to the breeze, and puzzle out why trees seem to like to lean right out over the water, as this one has. Slowly, slowly, in the silence broken only by woods noises, I began to feel my soul fill up again. Then I could head back out, re-crossing the creek and walking uphill to get back out to the church parking lot -- and this is what I saw as I left the woods:
It's hard to see that tiny, tiny moon in the very center of that blue, blue sky -- but it's there! And it looked much bigger when I actually saw it last week! Of course, tomorrow that moon will be full -- but last week it was just a plump crescent, hanging there in that late afternoon sky.
This weekend -- last Friday on my day off, actually, I went on another adventure -- with the dogs this time! I finally decided to explore Fall Creek Falls State Park, one of the several that are fairly near to me, this one being only about 45 minutes from my home. Other people have encouraged me to explore it, saying it's "really nice," and the park's own PR says that Southern Living Magazine called it "the best state park in the south." So Mapquest was my friend, giving me great driving directions, and off I went. Yes, it was/is spectacular. I can only show you these pictures to prove my point:
I got down there to the base of the falls (maybe 300 feet?) by way of a heavily-traveled, but steep and rather treacherous path. The dogs loved it, but they wore me out, trying to keep them from greeting every fellow-traveler, not pull me down the path too quickly, not explore every nook and cranny, like this one:
And then, once we got to the bottom, a fairly steep half-mile -- well, then we had to come back up! Whew! I was beat by the time we made it back to the car -- but I felt glorious, at the same time. And I don't think I could have done it before I lost this 68 pounds in the last 18 months! And the view from the top was deinitely worth it:
Why didn't I find this park sooner? Why did I have to live here for nearly 9 years before I got around to exploring here? There are lots of other features and vistas that I didn't have time to explore yet, and the campgrounds look really fine. It makes me want to get a pickup truck with a camper cap and just take off for a few days -- or the rest of my life!