Time in the mountains of North Carolina is a balm to my spirit. The birds sound happier, the water is more refreshing, the air smells sweeter and I feel at peace. This trip was planned to celebrate my parents birthdays, enjoy the comedy of Jeanne Robertson and indulge in my love of Michael Bolton. At the time I booked the flight, I had no idea when my new book would be completed, so it was extra sweet to have a proof copy awaiting me when I arrived at my parents’ house. Getting to show this off to my family, particularly so close to their birthdays, was exciting.
In between reviewing the proof and going to the shows, I took a few trips with the family. Wayah Bald is one of my favorite places in Western North Carolina. Growing up we spent many summer days here enjoying the cooler temperatures of the higher elevation, picnicking, and flying kites. On a clear day, you can see three states (of course there aren’t too many clear days in the Smoky Mountains. 😀) In 2016, a wildfire ravaged the mountain and I visited that winter to see the devastation. Nature rebounds quickly, though. By the following summer, some of the trees were sprouting new growth and grass was returning. Now there are thousands of wildflowers covering the mountaintop, although the lovely azaleas that used to line the walkway up to the fire tower appear to have been completely consumed by the fire. There is a new type of beauty here and I look forward to watching the forest progress through the years, to see which trees return and how the other fauna evolves.
On another day, we took a drive in search of waterfalls. I’d been reading about several falls in Northeast Georgia and my parents said they’d tried to find some of them with no luck. Determined to give it another shot we set off. I can understand how they missed Becky Branch Falls before. The “parking” area is a tiny pull off on the side of the road, with nothing to note there is a trail there. Well, I take that back, there is a trail post, but it is mostly covered by brush. I set off on the trail, which was narrow and fairly steep, but the article I’d read said it was only 200 yards off the road so I pressed on. I could hear rushing water most of the way, encouraging me that I wasn’t going to find a small trickle. About ten minutes later I reached the falls and a wooden bridge spanning the pool at the base. Since I wasn’t sure how often the bridge might be inspected by the forest service I was a little hesitant to go out on it, but it didn’t shake or crumble when I took a tentative step, so I went out to the middle to capture some photos for my family that had chosen to wait in the car.
The next destination, Holcomb Creek Falls was a bit more elusive. We traveled down a dirt road for five miles or so (it felt like 50 miles we had to go so slow over the ruts), and found an open-air church, still used every week, before finding the obscured trailhead for Holcomb Creek.
Dad and I started down the trail, which descended at a gentle slope, deceiving us as to how steep the return would be. I guess we made it about half a mile, but there were several trees down across the trail and I was worried my dad wouldn’t be able to do the climbing over and under they would require so we turned back. I had seen signs of a very low creek along the way, and wasn’t sure we would actually find any falls anyway, so it wasn’t a terrible loss.
Leaving the trailhead, we were headed back to the main road, which was probably another five miles away. The whole drive was beautiful and filled with the most wonderful butterflies. There were several times these enchanting creatures were flying alongside us or a pair of them would dance in front of us. Being out exploring is a delightful experience in and of itself, even if the original destination isn’t reached.
That’s a lot like life. We so often get caught up in the destination or objective and forget to enjoy the journey getting there. Similarly, I can get so focused on releasing a book, that I forget to savor the time writing it, learning what God is showing me through the process. While Destiny’s Call has taken longer to release than most of my other books, I’m glad I took the extra time to develop the characters and hear what God was trying to teach me. Now I can’t wait to share it with you all. Stay tuned for the release date details.