slowing down

We’ve had a good time of glorious meandering. Leaving the lake, we made our way up to Linville Gorge where, after eating at Famous Louise’s Rockhouse Restaurant, we hiked out to Wiseman’s View, there to look across the gorge at Table Rock. Then we wound our way up 221 to Boone where we spent the night. Yesterday morning, after an enjoyable time browsing Earth Fare: the healthy supermarket, we backtracked to Grandfather Mountain.

In his workshop at the foot of the mountain, we watched woodworker Tom Wolfe and had a conversation with him about knives and gouges (particularly fun for me since I have one of his books!). We drove about halfway up the mountain and had a picnic before walking through the natural animal habitats. The river otters and bears were fun to watch. To see Wilma, the bald eagle injured by some idiot with a gun, was less fun and more sad. She’s been there twenty-nine years, unable to fly. To be an eagle unable to fly ….

Driving on up the mountain, we walked across the mile high swinging bridge. On the other side, I clambered out onto Grandfather’s Linville Peak to take in the beauty and majesty of the 360 degree view.

Coming down Grandfather Mountain, we got on the Blue Ridge Parkway and headed north. Butterflies galore. Leisurely pace (the speed limit is 45 mph). No trucks. Minimal signage. Knowing how much further you have to go to get to where you need to be isn’t a priority. Lots of overlooks. We would pull into a fair number of them. As did other travelers … who also just pulled over onto the shoulder. We would pass a man just sitting on a rock looking out over a valley, a couple sitting on the rock guardrail, facing out, talking, a family around a blanket in the grass.

One time, we stopped upon passing two picturesque, old wooden structures only to discover one was Cool Spring Baptist Church! Though a sign did note the structure was mainly a weather shelter as the “meetings” took place outside.

We ate at Bluff’s Restaurant before sunset, so we could pull over after dinner to watch the sun go down over the western mountains. Driving on, we noted that the butterflies had finished their day shift and that the fireflies were on now.

We got off the Parkway in Virginia to get on the highway. Startling. The speed. The traffic. The immediate focus on getting to where we wanted to get.

Later, we’ll get off the highway to take in Virginia’s Natural Bridge. Maybe do a little backtracking, a little more slowing down. Lessons maybe we can take back to routine. It would be good. It’s been so good.

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