I needed a break earlier this week, something about clocking 51 hours.
I needed to stop the barrage of input my mind was receiving.
There was too much going on. There was too much in my blender of a brain — how can I do this? How do I schedule that? What is the deadline for the story? Who was next?
My temper was growing shorter.
My mind needed a rest.
I decided to unplug, no phone, no internet, no nothing. I let some folks know where I was going, after all my contact with the speeding world was being left behind for a while.
The weather was nice. The sun felt warm on the skin. The pollen, well it was tolerable.
Hiking was an easy decision.
I love the trails of the Cherokee Ridge Alpine Trail Association and it had been a year since I was on The Deadening. I figured boat traffic would be down and only a couple of jumpers at Chimney Rock would disurb the quietness along the bluffs.
I was enjoying the blooms under the cover of the tall long-leaf pines. The occasional squirrel scurried away. Lake Martin came into view with beams of sunlight filtering through the treetops.
I didn’t hear the ring of a phone. Didn’t feel the vibration of a text or notification.
Each turned revealed another view of the blue waters and blue sky.
It was great. It was relaxing.
My mind was unwinding.
I would stop to take a few photographs, adjusting the exposure, playing around to make them better in camera instead of later in the computer.
I’d take a few more steps and do the same thing but I kept feeling something tug at me. It couldn’t be anyone. Mine was the only car at the trailhead. I had seen or heard a soul.
I turned to look and still no one but I paused for a moment. Something was trying to show me something.
The view in the opposite direction was just as great if not better.
I take more photographs. I slowly make it to Needles Eye. The sun was setting and the golden light was striking the rocks.
The normally gray rocks were now rich and golden.
With the right light, with the right description, with the right attitude almost anything can be great.
I watched the shadows change — the beams of light moving through the pass in the rocks.
I was enjoying the live show in front of me.
It struck me. It was as if the devil was interrupting God’s moment. I realized darkness was soon coming. I panicked and left making my way up the trail to the parking lot.
I saw the shadows growing longer.
My breaths quickened as speeded up even more.
Daylight was quickly disappearing or so I thought.
I had to stop. I was out of breath.
I saw the beam of light strike a tree. It was my burning bush.
My breathing slowed as I stopped to admire the illuminated tree trunk under the cover of canopy trees I had mistaken for an early darkness.
I raised my camera again to capture the moment.
My burning bush was still there.
My breathing slowed more. I could now hear the crickets and frogs.
I relaxed taking a few more photos.
I now see the five-lined skink sunning on the other side of my burning tree. I raise my camera again but the skink flees.
How could I be mad? I can understand how the skink would be mad at me. I’d just robbed it of the last light of the day.
I continued my slow meander back to the car and my concert continued.
More crickets and frogs make their presence known, their rhythms aligning and getting louder.
A large rustle was in the distance. I stumbled across a whitetail who chose to move along, likely feeling my presence. I saw its form against a ridge line leaving me.
The occasional whippoorwill sounded off. The first I’ve heard in a few years.
An owl graced me with its presence.
I made it to the car and there was still light left in the sky.
I wished I would have spent a few more moments at Needles Eye.
I wished I would have spent a few more moments watching the light dance around the tree trunk.
I wished I would have spent more time listening to the concert in the woods.
I am reminded to let go of issues beyond my control, someone else, a higher power will take care of them.
I learned to relax and live in the moment.