A Walk in the Woods With Mom …

From March 20, 2010 …
It’s been the longest, hardest Winter I can ever remember. Truly. Bronchitis hung on to me almost the entire season, so believe me when I say I’m THRILLED to see it go.
 
On Cherry Mountain there is a tiny little spring … so tiny that if you were hiking through the woods across the mountain a week ago, you would step in it and scarcely realize that you had just crossed one of the most charming features of the mountain. But if you were to pause for a moment … really pause and breathe in the surroundings a bit, you would realize you were standing between two upward slopes. At your feet you would look down and see that you were standing on rock, and perhaps then you would hear the faint, ever so faint, dripping of water. Watercress and moss lay like carpet at your feet, and the only other sounds you would hear are the chattering of birds and perhaps the scurry of squirrels in the trees.
 
Up until yesterday, my life felt very much like that spring … dripping, tired, and unseen in many ways. I felt as if I had little more to offer, for that is what being shut up all winter can do to you. The world around me had buried me … covered me up … and nearly made me feel invisible. I knew I had potential … I knew that somewhere inside myself, all I needed was a little dose of Springtime and I’d feel myself burst back to life. But Spring always seemed just out of reach … always a week away … another frost … another cold front … always coming and coming, beating me down and down until I was even LESS than a drip.
 
I was stagnant.
 
All this talk in metaphors brings me to this:
 
Yesterday, for the first time in a while, I talked to my Mountain Mother. To my surprise, she and I have shared this metaphor all winter. It has been as if we’ve been walking side by side all winter long, scarcely aware the other one was there. You cannot know the immediate comfort I felt in knowing that when looking back on my long lonely Winter, I was never really as alone as I felt. My Mother was walking with me and our closeness carried the two of us through the hardest of winters.
 
Then, yesterday afternoon after we talked, she took a walk down the mountain for the first time all Winter. It was as if something was pulling her along … one foot in front of the other down a path she had walked a million times before. Across the road, down the drive, around the bend and through the deep Cherry Mountain ground cover she went. I can close my eyes and see her … her heart thumping … her eyes on the greenest spot in the woods. I can see her stepping determinedly … her hand firmly clutching her walking stick … I can hear her breath quickening.
 
Squinting her eyes, she takes a closer look … then opening wide at what she sees! For years it had only been a lingering drip, and now, there it was a Spring Branch … flowing freely over the rocks again! The Spring head was alive and somehow Cherry Mountain worked it’s magical spell and she, as well, felt herself coming back to life. She breathed in deep … so deep that her lungs filled for the first time all winter.
 
And I, a hundred miles away at my home in Atlanta, felt it as well! It was as if she breathed in enough for the two of us and slowly I felt a gentle sigh flow through me. Winter was nearly over … tomorrow it would be Spring!

Branch

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