Friday, July 30, 2010


Hundreds of miles ago, I sat at this desk writing about Prague. There's been a lot of caffeine pit stops and books on tape since then. I took a road trip two weeks ago back up to North Carolina (nothing finer than being in Carolina) for Rosemary's wedding. I stopped in Birmingham on the way home to visit Kinsey and Rick, and got to play around with their granddaughters, Carly and Olivia while I was at it. Then on to Anniston to hang out with April and do some serious soul talk, which I think we were both in desperate need of. That night was not without incident. In the midst of our visit, Daisy got into some rat poison in April's garage, and I had to induce vomiting with H2O2 so that she would live to see another day. Never a dull moment with that baby girl dog.

Then it was up to North Carolina for a week of wedding festivities. I think I will blog on that separately, so I'll save words for now. After the wedding, Andy and I drove to one of my favorite places on the planet- the North Carolina mountains. I have a t-shirt that I bought in the mountains a few years back, at the Mast General Store- it says, "I wasn't born in the mountains, but I got here as fast as I could." That about sums it up for me. There are people who say that they were born for the sea, or the city, or for wandering to exotic locales. Me, I was made for the mountains. I don't know why that is because I love social life and people and friends and such and I'm liking Austin enough to consider myself somewhat of a city gal these days, but nothing really compares to sitting in cool mist on a mountain morning and feeling the droplets of water tickle your forearms. It makes me laugh. Something about the mountains makes me feel like a child again, like I can play and get dirty and laugh and be silly. I feel like the mountains themselves will act as a sort of protective big brother, watching over me while I forget the rest of the world for a moment, keeping me safe from the worry caused by those who forgot to how to play a long time ago. I am always so in a panic about what other people think about me- a handful of individuals in particular- and I am torn up over it in one way or another a lot of the time. But in the mountains, something stills that. When I stand on the side of a mountain, the subtle movements of nature lure me into peaceful stillness. When on a hike this past week, I stood at a point in the trail and watched the morning light illuminate a valley that had been tucked underneath a blanket of fog. The sun's rays seemed so gentle, so gradual, like a ballerina unfolding her body into an arabesque. The wind, so moved by the performance, began to stir through the trees, swirling like a spoon through Bisquick pancake batter on a Saturday morning. I could have laughed at the display, if I weren't so entranced, so still, finally, still on the inside.

If you are a person who is concerned with other people, then you might know exactly what I mean. For you it might not be mountains, maybe it's salty breezes or starry nights, but hopefully there is something out there that is able to arrest your always-pounding heart for moments of sweet rest, when no one else matters but the One who made whatever it is that has such power over your mind and body and emotions.

I thank God for mountains. I am so thankful that He made places where things are lush and green and smell like Christmas all year long. I'm thankful He made waterfalls that are so beautiful that someone should write a story about them- something really sappy about star-crossed lovers or something. And I'm thankful that people had the sense to realize that God made mountains to be enjoyed so they built cabins with front porches meant for rocking chairs and swings and fried trout suppers. And I'm thankful I got to sit on one of those porches with my family and smile and swing and throw Gatsby's ball for him.

I took Andy on one of my favorite hikes- the Profile Trail up Grandfather Mountain. It's not for the faint of heart. My hubby is from the Rocky Mountains, but he was practically cursing me toward the end. But the hike is worth the work when you reach the crest of the mountain and look down into the valleys, at clouds that have laid themselves at your feet, the way Gatsby lies down at my feet when I sit here at my desk to write. Oswald Chambers says that God is in the clouds. Figuratively, this means that God is in the troubles of life- the storms, the fuzzy moments when you can't see. He likes to appear in there. Chambers says we won't see Him if the weather is always clear. While Andy and I were hiking, we walked through clouds the majority of the hike. It was cool and damp and we had a hard time knowing how far we had gone or how far we had to go, and when we reached some of the more spectacular viewpoints, we were so enveloped by clouds, that Andy didn't get to see my beloved mountains below.

I wish that I had been thinking of Oswald's words when that cloud was up there. I'd have enjoyed a chat with God nearby. I suppose that I ought to be applying that same principle figuratively. Back in Austin, things are not always circumstantially sunny. But it's comforting to think about Him in those types of clouds- seeing clouds from a distance is much more foreboding than actually being in one. What looks like it will spoil everything from far away is mysterious and mesmerizing from within. I like thinking about looking for God in the cloud. I can say that after having hiked through the cloud, it made it even more thrilling when the sun finally shooed them away and Andy and I could see the panorama below. Of course, the view is great, but the cloud touches you, you experience the cloud- and maybe that's how it should be when those figurative clouds descend on my life. Maybe I should be looking for the touch, the experience, the mystery of His presence- Oswald Chambers seems to think so. I like that idea. It makes me more peaceful, even though the mountains are hundreds of miles away.

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