Deepening with a Sense of Place

Deepening with a Sense of Place

There are over 500 hiking trails within an hour of where I live…or so I’ve read. At first, the stay at home order challenged me as I was walking or mountain biking nearly every day at Deep Creek, part of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. It was a very short drive and the waterfalls, creek, forest…a wonderland of beauty. I missed that.

But then, as I walked the quiet little mountain where I reside, I began to make friends with it and the wildlife and trees here. I know where the hooded warblers hang out. The northern parula has one little area he inhabits and loudly proclaims his territory. The wood thrush lives near me.

And now, since I’ve started flying the drone most every day, I have come to know the mountains and valleys here, in this little dot on the planet. There are two places I fly. One near my home in a meadow and the other is my driveway. The driveway is a straight-up and down flight. And sometimes I want to explore further yet every time I fly up, I see my friends. The mountain ridge across the valley…national park, Clingman’s Dome…those big friends. But the smaller ones here are showing me their secrets.

For instance, one particular mountain–just northwest of where I fly from my driveway—seems to attract fog. It seems to send out the call to the fog tiptoeing upslope. Today, the mountain valley in front of my home had a small rainbow or fogbow. There’s something very sweet about knowing the place where you live. And perhaps, to truly live in a place there must be some level of intimacy that develops.

The park is open again but I haven’t visited. I don’t want to miss a morning walk here…are the hooded warblers still in their respective places? Is the northern parula still here? Oh, look! There are now three fire pink flowers shyly peeking out from the lush green foilage and only two days ago there was one. These are my friends. The mountains and valleys are my pals. There is a deepening sense of Oneness within my heart as I really open myself to this green dot on this blue planet.

I’ll return to ride and walk in the national park. But first, let me deepen my acquaintance with life here in the place I live.

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