spring came to Southwest Virginia.
More specifically, to Clinch Mountain and even more specifically, to Big Moccasin.
The temperatures and weather over the past couple of weeks has been like riding the world’s most vertigo-inducing roller-coaster immediately after eating corn dogs, grilled sausages with onions and funnel cakes.
Better than Ipecac syrup, that.
But this past Sunday … wow. Just wow.
A perfect day filled with fog, clouds, blue sky, sunshine, a spring breeze, and a trip into my mountain.
Like my orchard, the mountain isn’t really mine.
It isn’t really anyone’s.
Even though someone may hold the deed to a particular part of the earth, that part thrives and takes what it wants and has little regard for that little piece of paper that claims ownership.
The trees grow, the flowers bloom, the grass thrives, the leaves bud, the creek flows and human existence is of little relevance.
I found this to be true when I went into “my” mountain on Sunday.
If it was glad to see me, it didn’t say so, not with words, but I think, at least I like to think, that it missed me a little bit, anyway.
I went to the Orchard first. It was just beginning to bud. I kissed the tender buds, the gnarled branches and the crooked trunks.
Was I worshiping the trees or the orchard or the sun or the sky?
Of course not.
I was worshiping the Creator of those lovely things.
I laid on the newly-greening grass beneath the apple trees and thought deep thoughts about everything and nothing. I thought forbidden thoughts, dreamed lovely dreams, and reveled in the sense of contented aloneness that I feel while immersed in nature.
I can be myself beneath the trees that I love, without pretending or hoping or wishing. They have an understanding of who I am and what I aspire to be. That is the nature of trees. They are unassuming and accept me, along with my dreams and fantasies, without condemnation.
Just as I am, without filters or regrets.
Thank you, Jesus, for the Orchard.
I find peace in no place like I find it behind the lens of a camera watching the world that God created play before my very eyes. I feel, sometimes, like an intruder into the perfect world of nature but I cannot look away from the magnificence.
Of course, as on any successful excursion, hike or trail shoot, I became unbelievably filthy and muddy by crawling beneath branches and vines on the edge of the creek in order to preserve, through images, the delicacy of fragile blooms that help to define spring.
I didn’t, on this journey, find any fiddle-heads, but it is a bit early yet. I am already looking forward to my next trek into the spring mountain, for with every trip, every journey, there will be more to see, to experience. More to overload my already overloaded senses and send me to a place that one can only get to by being in the mountains in springtime.
I am, without doubt, blessed beyond measure and I am thankful.
Isaiah 55:12 ~ For ye shall go out with joy, and be led forth with peace: the mountains and the hills shall break forth before you into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.