Over the weekend we were up in the Blue Ridge Mountains for a family get-away and to see the Autumn colors (which are nowhere to be found here in South Carolina any time soon). We stayed at the same Mast Farm Inn in historic Valle Crucis, NC where we stayed in June when we first arrived back to the US and felt so sad and confused and overwhelmed at the time. This Inn is so soothing and soul-filling and beautiful, so comforting (like visiting someone’s home, really) and the area seems to breathe life into us all that coming back to it, a gift to me from my husband, felt like a needed way to prepare for our next big transition in a month.
We stayed in a remodeled old barn called the Granary (the original one from 1810) on the Inn’s property, behind a large organic garden (grown for the restaurant), surrounded front and back by a fenced-in pasture housing a horse, donkey and two goats. It is without exaggeration that I say my children were out there with those animals every second we were at that Granary. They were interested in nothing else, and I took far too many pictures of it all (I guess for another post). The weather was beautiful nearly every day aside from a few afternoons of rain (which were lovely too in their own way, especially with a wood stove and a huge pile of firewood waiting to be used up). And because it is Autumn and these are the mountains, most mornings were quite thick with fog which burned off (where we were) by late morning.
On one of the foggiest mornings we decided to head up to Blowing Rock, NC (we had been there before–to Moses H. Cone Memorial Park) to hike around and to see what we could see (though my children would have probably been perfectly pleased to remain back at the cabin with the animals). There is a beautiful mountain view from that park and it was completely obliterated by the fog. Folks who saw me walking with my camera made more than a few comments along the lines of ‘Too bad you can’t take any pictures today, huh?’, but that thought never occurred to me actually, and I wasn’t sure how to respond. I thought the very opposite. I am always looking for light and for color and for a way to see something differently. I don’t always need to see the vista — I know it is there. I thought the fog was breathtaking, the colors peeking through as we walked, the glow of the leaves through the moisture that hung in the air, the mystery of what lay beyond the next bend in the road. I felt gently enveloped, protected, held by the clouds.
In a world that especially in recent days seems so overwhelmed with fear and hopelessness and desperation, I find myself looking for the handprints of God — looking for the beauty and colors in the fog — looking for reminders that when we are walking through the heartaches and mysteries of our lives, there is still so much Beauty in the mist and so much Love in our midst — that though we cannot always see, God is there, leading the way, as the very pillar of cloud.