14 July 2008

Summer Goals

Although my summer hasn't been as "productive" as I had hoped it would be (or feared it would have to be!), I have been able to accomplish a couple of goals of utmost importance. For instance, this weekend I got to catch up with a couple of friends from high school, Erin and Robin. We went to the Fabulous Fox Theatre in Atlanta and watched Ben Hur, a part of their summer movie series. [For Abilenians: The Fox is like the Paramount - complete with Egyptian/Moorish decor and an "enchanted" ceiling - but it's about 4 times larger with two ballrooms. It's usually the place to go in Atlanta for touring Broadway shows, among other performing arts events.] In the summer, they try to recreate the old movie-going experience, complete with live organ music, a sing-along culminating in "Georgia on My Mind" (what else?!), a classic cartoon (Mickey Mouse this time), and an old news reel before the feature presentation. It was a lot of fun. Catching up with old friends: Check!

Another goal of mine this summer was to hike in North Georgia as much as possible. I still hope to get in another day hike with Mom, but I've already had the opportunity to hike a couple of times with Erin. This is a great opportunity for some photo-journaling. The following pictures are from Panther Creek Falls, a 5-mi. hike a little more than an hour from my house:

The fearless hikers!
The mountain laurel was still in bloom, one of the delights of hiking in the Southern Appalachians during late spring/early summer. The flowers were waning, showering our path and the forest floor with their lovely pink petals.
Our path took us alongside a tranquil mountain stream - the kind of environs that evoke transcendence, poetry, and "going green." We enjoyed another summer-time treat here: bing cherries! Yum!
Toward the end of the hike the waters became more tumultuous. We marveled at the way the river had sculpted the riverbed over the centuries.
Finally, we reached the end, the namesake of the trail: Panther Creek Falls.
The memory of the hike lived on in more than pictures - Erin and I both walked stiffly for the next couple of days. (We like to think of ourselves as active, outdoorsy girls, but our muscles seem to think that they were meant to belong to prissy princesses.) But achy muscles are part of the appeal of hikes like this. It sounds like a paradox, but it's not: I find nothing more spiritual than this kind of deeply physical, tangible experience. It's the loving-kindness of God made known in rushing waters, blooming flowers, delicate bugs, and singing birds. It's the presence of Christ, whose incarnation affirms the dignity and goodness of physical bodies, disclosed in human companionship and sore muscles. It's the Spirit of God moving in a perceptible but hard-to-put-your-finger-on way, not unlike the uncontrollable, unpredictable rustling of the wind through lush, green leaves.


Caryn said...

It is absolutely lovely! Mount Diablo didn't have such a beautiful stream and waterfall- but it did give us that paradoxical pleasure of aches and pains in our prissy princess muscles. Let's go on another hike!

Susan said...

Wow! I miss that kind of beauty. I'll just head out to my backyard. Thank you, God.