Deep trust in life is not a feeling but a stance that you deliberately take. It is the attitude we call courage.
~ Br. David Steindl-Rast
Our experiences of embodiment may not always correspond with idealized images of holiness, but these preconceptions derive from masculine standards of perfection. Such paradigms have caused great harm, and they are no longer valid. I invite you to abandon your efforts to fix yourself and instead reclaim your innate beauty and worth as a luminous cell in the body of Mother Earth.
~ Mirabai Starr
I wasn’t able to get here for a Monday Meander (I went to the beach) so let’s wander around in the mountains of Virginia for a little while on this hot and steamy Wednesday. As I mentioned in my last post, M and I recently returned from a trip to Roanoke. It was mostly business (a conference) for him and all fun for me. We rented a condo (one of the Airbnb or VRBO type things which is cheaper than a hotel) which we shared with friends. It was lovely to have that time with them.
I took quite a few photos. Not as many as I normally would have because it seems I am more considerate of friends than I am of family. My family, bless their hearts (as they like to say in the South), are very tolerant of my need to stop and capture the scenery. My friends probably would be, too, but I am reluctant to put that to the test.
I will show and tell about Roanoke at some point, but I want to start in the mountains. We only had one really nice day in terms of weather (our first full day there) and we spent that day exploring a little of the Blue Ridge Mountains and the Blue Ridge Parkway. It was also the only full day the guys had in which they wouldn’t be attending the conference. It was lovely how that lined up.
The Blue Ridge Parkway is considered the U.S.’s longest linear park. It runs for 469 miles through Virginia and North Carolina, and links Shenandoah National Park (in Virginia) to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park (in North Carolina). According to Wikipedia, the parkway has been the most visited of the National Park System every year since 1946 with the exception of three years (1949, 2013, and 2016).
We took our drive on the parkway on Thursday, June 6 which is also the anniversary of D-Day. On our way to Roanoke the day before, M and I passed the National D-Day Memorial in Bedford, Virginia. It was notable because of the memorial but also because of the traffic and signs warning us about the upcoming event causing traffic jams (and even the day before the event, there was plenty of traffic). The National D-Day Memorial was located in Bedford, Virginia because the town lost 19 of its sons (soldiers) on D-Day, proportionally the largest loss suffered in a U.S. town because the population at the time was only 3,200. We met a man up on the parkway who was waiting to watch the planes fly over from the D-Day event taking place in Bedford (which we could almost see from way up there). While I don’t think the man was old enough to be a WWII veteran, I do think he might have been old enough to have been alive and remember events from WWII. The current Vice President spoke at the National D-Day Memorial event but let us not dwell on disagreeable matters.
There are a lot of scenic overlooks and trails along the Blue Ridge Parkway. We barely touched on all there is to see, mostly because we had so little time to explore but also because we’d already spent about seven hours drive time on the road the day before and nobody was up for another seven hours of sitting in the car. After much research and discussion the night before our excursion, we did pick a trail to hike, one that we would all be capable of exploring. I would love to go back and explore some more someday.
The Appalachian Trail (AT) crosses the parkway twice, and one of the most photographed places on the AT is McAfee Knob which you can hike to from the Blue Ridge Parkway. (Google it. You’ll see why it’s so popular.) We did not do this hike (too long a hike for the time we had, and the elevation climb is 1700 feet which was too much for one in our group). It is noted in the trail guides that this trail garners a lot of hiking traffic. I think this would have been a good day and a good time of year to have done the hike because we saw very few visitors on the parkway or on the trails. So, if you ever have the desire to hike this portion of the AT, try a Thursday in early June. You might not have the place to yourself, but it won’t be very crowded, either.
I’ll be back with more from the Blue Ridge Parkway, from Roanoke, and from Virginia soon. We have family coming to the ranch sometime over the next few weeks and I need to get the house and guest room ready for them. The Little Wookie and Little Peanut are two of the visitors. That means walking around at toddler level and childproofing the place.
Thank you for stopping by for a wander today. I’m not sure we’ll see much of sunset this evening (there are storms in the forecast). If it looks good, I’ll meet you out at the Point. It’s hot, humid, and buggy so you’ll want to prepare for that. Sunset is scheduled for 8:29 PM. I’ll be there early, maybe to go for a swim.
Be good, be kind, be loving. Just Be. 🙂
A few of the 10,000 reasons to be happy: 1,086) Iced tea on a hot and humid day. 1,087) Sorting through the photos from our trip. It’s nice to have another look at friends and at some of the beautiful scenery. 1,088) This morning’s cardio workout. It was a doozy and my body appreciated the movement. 1,089) An Indigo Bunting sitting on the fence outside of my window. We don’t see them often. 1,090) A curried (and spicy!) cauliflower stew with brown rice for lunch.