Monday, November 10, 2008

Ups and downs...

...on the road of life.

Yeah, I know...couldn't be cheesier if it was melted over a pizza...but sometimes truth is cheesy. There's a reason phrases become cliches. Words that capture truth resonate with us; they encapsulate something complex into a compact package we can wrap our minds around. In the best of times, my life resembles the ups and downs of a mountain road; at other times, it's been more like a roller coaster. In any case, the photo made me smile and the cheesy cliche holds true yet again.

My husband and I spent the weekend with friends at a cabin on Lookout Mountain. We hot tubbed, ate too much, and took time to enjoy the most beautiful fall I can recall since childhood. My friend Peggy and I took a scenic drive and hiked up and down hills, over rocks, and across No Trespassing signs to get better views, leaving me with sore thighs, good pictures, and great memories.

As good as the weekend was, I found myself a bit overwhelmed on Saturday night. Even the best of sounds - good music, honest conversation, and the laughter of friends - can be too much if delivered in an unbroken stream, and by Sunday morning, I needed to recharge my batteries.

I rose before everyone and took a walk, enjoying the cold and the gentle morning light. Finding my way into the woods, I was invited by a centuries-old rock to have a seat, and for a half hour or more he and I enjoyed wordless companionship. Have you ever felt a rock's pulse? It's a throbbing, basso profundo wave that begins imperceptably and rises gradually so that you're not aware of when it starts or stops but you feel it. And if you sit long enough and listen with all your senses your own energy rises and falls with the wave and your thoughts slow down... slower... deeper...until finally you're heart and breath and mind are humming with the rock and all else fades to the background. When the press of time once again quickens your senses and you rise, you realize that the rock, while aware of you and maybe even grateful for your company, is not diminished or troubled by your arrival or your departure and will be right there when you come back.

And if, like me, you find yourself without anything to offer in thanks for that most precious gift except the grateful tears on your face and the wordless song rising in your throat, you tilt back your head and sing to the rock and the morning and the light and leave your song behind as an offering, knowing without a doubt that it was heard and welcomed and remains for the next person who comes to draw strength from the rock, to be heard not with the ears but with the heart.

I hope they'll sing along.

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