Sunday, July 17, 2016

A Walk in the Woods

I had to go see some folks in Fentress and Pickett County on Friday. Everytime I'm in the area I am reminded of the time someone tried to take me to see the waterfall at Colditz Cove and couldn't find it. I've always wanted to see the falls and I figured that as well as the trails are maintained now in the area that it would be much easier to find. I always tell myself I'm gonna break for lunch there and see the falls and I finally kept my promise.

It's just a bit off the main road but the parking area is secluded by trees and there was no one there when I arrived. I headed out in clothes that were neither appropriate for the heat or the hike. My attire consisted of jeans and a long sleeved shirt with the sleeves rolled up and thong Birkenstocks. I didn't really think this thing out. I just wanted to see the falls once and for all. As I walked the trail I began to hear cars, doors slamming and people talking. I have no idea where it was coming from. It seemed like it was in front of me but I've never been one who could decipher the direction of sound well. It's never been one of my great abilities. So, when I started to hear it I remembered all the times I started a trail by seeing a sign that said "not responsible for items left in your automobile." It made me wish that I'd tried to hide my iPod, iPhone and purse just a little bit better. The only hope I had was that I could make this trip a quick one and get back to my car.

I finally reached the falls but with all the summer growth between the ledge and the fall I could hardly see the falls. I knew I'd have to go down but first, since I was at the top, I wanted to see the water spill over the top. Every twig and every root I tripped over in my inappropriate shoes forced the thong further into the split of my toes until they felt like the next time might actually split my toes. I would not give up even with the threat that my car was being broke into right at that very moment. I saw what I needed to see at the top and then turned to make my way back to the path that would lead me down.

As I moved along the path, stumbling over my Birken's, it finally occurred to me that if I tighten the buckle a few notches it might be enough to stop my foot at the strap instead at the thong. As I stood back up from the rebuckling I saw the most beautiful little turtle. At that very second I knew positively that nature was trying to tell me a thing or two. I was hot and my foot burned between my toes and all I'd thought about since I left my car was how fast I could get this done and get back on the road to work. Now, I just laughed at myself because I got the message loud and it was clear. I was in no danger. I could slow down and stop worrying about my car, I could stop looking for snakes at every rock and I could relax and begin to enjoy this detour to see something I'd wanted to see for many years.

I started to notice how all the downed trees looked like sculpture no artist could replicate. There were beautiful mushrooms everywhere and at one point my path was literally littered with tiny flowers that fell from up above. I went slow and took my steps very deliberately and decided that no matter the terrain, I'd make it to the bottom of that waterfall, in my now sweaty clothes and my fairly slick shoes. I knew it was mine to have and I knew this was the day I was meant to see it. I felt like this had been part of my birth plan. I felt so supported by everything around me and I knew I should just let go of everything else and have this moment for myself. I was protected by these woods and nothing was going to happen to me. In my heart I felt myself turn loose and fall back into the arms of nature.

When I returned to the car it was just like I left it. When I checked my Spire later it said that I had only walked for 23 minutes. It felt like it was much longer. I must have fallen into a time warp where 23 minutes feels like a couple of hours. It felt so good to check this off after so long and know that missing it so many years ago actually led me to this moment in time. My moment. My walking a path that led to finding  a tiny bit more of me. But now I want to share it with you. Enjoy...

Colditz Cove from tonyaru on Vimeo.


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