I get home from tutoring, change into comfy clothes, eat and get ready to leave...I LOVE being retired! I'm not too tired and it's not too dark for adventures.
Out to the car to see that indeed the leaves are falling...
My first stop was Hardee's...I know, but their advertising was better than my will power. When I placed my order, the nice guy, Jay, up there on the other end of the ordering thingy, took my order and then said, "Oh, hon, I can get you everything you want and an apple pie for less than the special." Well, OK, let's do it...sucker for a guy trying to save me some money. When I got up to the window he was all smiles and "dears" and "hons" about how he had saved me money. As I waited I listened to him treat the cars behind me just as sweetly. I told him that if anyone asked me, I was going to tell them he needed to be moved up to management. Bigger smile and a reminder that his name was Jay. Eyes to see - a young married man happily doing a job that many would find less than honorable, and bringing joy in the process.
Off I go all fueled up (me and Gwendolyn -the car). I drove down to the river and all along it to Rowlesburg and on to Rt. 50. I couldn't stop and take pictures because there was river on one side and mountain on the other and usually trees in between. It was amazing.
Eyes to see - the landscape more like a giant, fluffy, fall colored quilt or plush carpet than anything else I can think of. The folds of the mountains running down into the river valley just speak of ancient moldings of mighty formations in the dribbles and downpours of water. I passed willows swaying like the most graceful of hula dancers and then I started the nearly vertical 3 mile climb up the side of the mountain to Aurora. I'm not sure if that was measured in 3 miles as the crow flies or the snake slithers.
At the top of the mountain I sort of pull over and take a couple of pictures in the lowering clouds and light.
Top of the world...around here anyway! Aurora is also the home of Cathedral State Park, a virgin hemlock area. Those of you who know me know that I am sort of directionally challenged...as in when I go to the mall I just always keep the stores on my right hand so I know which way to go when I come out of a store. So, the idea of wandering in the woods as evening is getting closer and rain is getting closer is not really me, but I wanted to show you some pictures so I got brave enough to go in just a little way. But there weren't any good pictures...so, a little bit more. The trails were marked with red (for my trail) so I decided to be brave and go for it. Now, I wasn't planning to do this so no one knew where I was and I didn't have my phone. It is the DEEP woods....look....
OK. This part isn't scary. It also was very close to the parking lot.
See? Lots of trees.
Look at the light leaves on that one lone deciduous tree.
And a sign. You always feel safer with a sign, right?
Lots of TALL trees.
I did pass one lone girl running. And then
she came around and passed me again.
I asked if I was getting close to the
parking lot. She had come from the direction I
thought the parking lot should be, but she
said she didn't know, it was her first time out
exploring in this area.
Another patch of light. But it wasn't really light at all.
It was dark and a little creepy and drippy and close
with this one little tree that seemed to be glowing.
I was brave for awhile. Walking pretty fast. Taking pictures. Enjoying the solitude.
THEN, I got a little nervous and tried going off the trail and straight through the way I though was out. I was wrong. I prayed and God said, "Stay on the path." OK. Back on the path for a LONG time (you know how long time seems when you don't have any watch or phone and it is starting to rain and getting darker). Then, I get more nervous and try off trail again - really? I'm a crazy Israelite wandering in the wilderness when all I had to do was "Stay on the path." I did this one more time and each time had to go back to the path...which did, in fact, lead me right out to my car. Thank you, God.
Eyes to see - God knows best and wants what is best for us. On my own I would have been dangerously lost...but, when I listened and obeyed, I found safety.
By the time I drove back down the other side of the mountain and right back to the same river I had followed before going up the mountain, the sun was shining.
Eyes to see - the light at the end of the adventure....
And my favorite look in the fall - a dark sky with colorful leaves glowing in front.
So, open your eyes to see...and your ears to hear if you happen to be wandering alone in the deep dark woods!