Sunday, August 23, 2015

The Wisdom gleaned from this Forest...

There are moments when I wish I could roll back the clock and take all the sadness away, but I have the feeling that if I did, the joy would be gone as well. -Nicholas Sparks
So far, many are the cherished moments collected up here in the sanctity of this God-given place where I now call home. Countless hours have been spent rocking on the front porch, gazing out over the surrounding woods that clothe me in total privacy. The sheer joy of being able to sit out here in my nightgown if I choose, knowing that God and I are alone with no one else to pry, blissfully left alone with my thoughts.  And I do sit and ponder. 

Recently I began to contemplate the smattering of 'wisdom' I have picked up while living here.  Hope you don't mind if I share a few tidbits of my pleasure and pain with ya.

 (1) Canker sores cannot be cured with a homemade remedy of honey mixed with a pulverized ground walnut shell and goat milk soap shavings. I should have listened to my inner voice on this one and made a trip off the mountain for a tube of Abreva.

 (2) Sleeping out in the hammock in the backyard of Bear cabin is not a good idea.  This wisdom came from a hair brained idea I got one night after my sweetheart went to bed and, missing the intense pleasure of solo camping and sleeping under the stars, I thought I would take advantage of that cold- but not miserable-night.
Because I have been known to cause an uproar over past such ideas and not wanting to disturb the better and more rational half of the two of us, I tiptoed around the cabin and gathered up the necessities needed.

An apple in case of a midnight crave; a sleeping bag that is good for forty below; a pillow; my Smith & Wesson; two bottles of water; my (only for rare use) Mickey Mouse footie zip-up-to-the-neck flannel pajamas; and a trusty flashlight.

Turning on the one light in the cabin that would shed just enough brightness out the window to enable me to ably focus should a bear, cougar or some other not so friendly creature decided to join me in my hammock, I stealthily crept out to my bed. As I settled down, a 'peace that passeth all understanding' came over me.

The stars were out of this world and I drifted off thanking God for His handiwork.

I was awakened sometime in the middle of the night to something more alarming than a bear and more painful than the apple I had laid at the top of my pillow now wedged in the middle of my back.  Nature was calling. Loudly. Just as that thought hit, the fact I had on a pair of zip-on head-to-toe footie pajamas ran through me and time was of the essence.

I frantically started unzipping the sleeping bag. It stuck in the seam in my haste. I yanked. It still stuck. Jerking the darn thing again it began unzipping and I literally ripped it down enough to pull myself out. My situation was getting critical.

Now it was a matter of flinging my legs over the side of the deep hammock and trying to bail out. Oh, geez, I don't even want to go there now with how absurd (and timely) that exercise would prove to be. 

Once out though the thought crossed my mind I should try to slip my Crocs on as the bottoms of my feeties would get dirty when they hit the dirty ground and then I would have to cram them all ukky back in my bed. Oh crap! Forget it!

Nearly past that point of no return, I grabbed my Mickey PJ zipper and yanked with everything I had and...too late...ten seconds later I was standing there in soaking wet pajamas.  Oh crap again. Darn it! Now what?

Quickly I started peeling Mickey off my body and just as the pajamas hit the ground and I had pulled them off by the cloth feet, a light switch flicked and the entire mountain lit up like a Christmas tree!
The back door flung open and there HE stood.
But not silently.

"WHAT IN THE HELL ARE YOU DOING OUT HERE?!", he roared as I froze there like a naked women caught in the headlights.  In a voice as small and timid as I could muster...I murmured, "Honey, I am sleeping under the stars."
Not to worry.

Ten minutes and a brief shower later he was warming my half frozen body in his arms whispering over and over, "Linda Gale, what am I going to do with you, what in the world am I going to do?"
I am definitely returning to solo camping under the stars in the woods or on an island at Lake Watauga this summer. The hammock is for the birds who perch on it.

(3) I came to realize winters on the Roan do get deathly cold and slippery at in minus twenty degrees below with wind chill factor cold. The misery of this can be verified by me when climbing the hill to the barn to feed my horse twice daily for weeks on end, pulling myself up with a rope with large knots tied in it every three feet.

I was glad I had thought of this rope idea before the first snow fell. I did not hesitate to remind Tony how clever I was. Alas, he knocked me down a peg by reminding me that even a blind hog finds an acorn on occasion.

This rope, strung between the cabin and Trig's gate, was frozen stiff and very slippery in tandum with the ice caked ground beneath. This bitter cold winter was also verified by Trig when he dared walk out to greet me at the gate several times and I was greeted by a halo of frozen white 2-3 inch solid spikes around his entire mouth. His whiskers had frozen solid!

I determined then to shave those off as soon as the weather permitted. Then I read on the Internet that horses needed these whiskers for various and sundry reasons. Well, I probably need the nose hairs inside my nostrils but I use a nose clipper so my horse will be clean shaven before our Easter gathering up here next week.

(4) I have found that Christians on the Roan shoot their wounded and leave them for dead just as callously as those who live in Bristol, my hometown, and beyond. I guess it's just a human frailty that our Savior had to hang on that wretched Cross for.

(5) Routine pedicures and manicures are no longer a necessary part of my life. Not only not necessary but not desired in this simple life I have embraced. Sure, there are certain times they are needed and I do get a chuckle out of my sweet Vietnamese manicurist when those times present themselves.

When I do rarely walk through his door now he looks carefully at my face and then responds accordingly. If I am smiling, he greets me with, "Oh hullo! Somebody murry! Hooray! You get pletty nails! What collor?" or if I look sad or depressed, "So sorry, sit. Somebody die. Sad. Sit."

(6) Even though winter is my favorite time to be in the hot tub, it isn't necessarily the best time.
I now know that.

Right in the middle of this winter from hell, the snow was pretty heavy on the cover of the hot tub but I was determined I needed to get in those soothing, steaming waters.

My Tony scrapped the snow off, turned the temp up to 105 degrees and we both slid in. He had, of course, scrapped the snow off the steps leading up and into the tub but I failed to remember the black ice on them when I 'slid' out.

The first thing I did remember was Tony pulling me up from the depths after I crashed back into the water. Next... starting to squeal like a girl that I had broken my little toe on my left foot.
And I had.

Perfectly shaped like a minature football and feeling as large, my toe was swollen and very painful for weeks. The most painful of all? Not being able to get on my horse. Bummer. I learned to hate black ice this winter. It is mean spirited.

(7) Another bit of wisdom I've learned that came my way in a tragic way? I nearly killed my beloved horse Trig with colic. He, the first horse I've ever boarded, was given excessive amounts of sweetfeed out of ignorance by the person who was supposed to be his caregiver. God saved him for me. That is a lesson I will never forget. (Please see my prior post The Great Physician and Healer of All.)

 (8) I also learned that the gorgeous, emerald green lush carpet of moss that spreads over the ground and covers the river rocks up here in the summer does not turn brown and die off in the winter like everything else! In fact, that seems to be when moss comes alive! If anything, it is more brillant and beautiful as it creeps and crawls slowly over everything in its path like a reminder that yes, Spring will return in all its glory...just keep the faith.

(9) My favorite bumper sticker on Roan Mountain? Honk If You Love Jesus... Text While Driving If You Want To Meet Him

(10) Lastly, I have matter what life throws at me, at least I don't have ugly children.

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