There is something about the Appalachian Mountains that soothes the soul. Driving through them is akin to answering the siren's call of nature. Today, the mountains are cloaked in the splendor of an autumn evening. The brilliant reds and gleaming golden leaves herald the transition from the hot summer into the coolness of winter. I gaze upon the beauty of the Appalachian Mountains as I drive into the interstate 40 in North Carolina and am at once touched and inspired by the beauty.
I am reminded that Jesus said if we do not praise Him, then the very rocks will cry out. And, they do. Looking at the Appalachian Mountains in North Carolina, it seems as though the trees are crying out. Each tree created individually, yet standing together as a giant chorus sing their own rendition of "It is Well with My Soul".
I drive through a road, cut into the side of a towering mountain. The cliff face rises as though it can touch the sky. I see rocks on the roadside, rocks being replaced, the grinding sound of equipment and roar of the road are a blur against my window as I pass by. It is a brief interruption in the otherwise quiet of the journey.
A rest area sign calls me to pause and I do. I sit on a bench at the North Carolina Welcome Center. The Saturday canopy provides a respite on sunny days.Today, I bask in the shadow of the mountain. Flowers at the rest area are in full bloom. It is as though they know their days are numbered and have chosen to go out in full glory. Birds twitter softly, a light breeze carries the sound. It is a good moment.
A car pulls up and children, full of the energy of youth and of being in the car too long, begin piling out of the car as if to escape confinement. Tablets and phones wave in the air. A harried mom and dad get out to stand in front of the minivan pondering the miles that lay before them.
They are heading to the beach they say. It is fall break for only a few more days. They need the break they tell me, as the kids rush up. Mom leaves kids with Dad for a few minutes then returns.
We chat for a minute. Then Dad leans back stretching and looks at the mountains. Mom does too. Together they stand for a minute, they too seem to be taking in the wonder. The kids notice and comes running up to see what's wrong. In their busy high tech world it doesn't occur to them to sit, be still, and see.
Mom sees this, and Dad. They exchange looks and Mom nods. Groaning kids put their tablets in the car and together they stomp down to follow dad down the side of the hill to the picnic area.
The mom looks my way and gives a small wave. She says that she wonders if the kids realized that they are on vacation or what that actually means.
We talk about the busyness of life, what that means for families and how adults and kids don't take time for each other even when they are on a trip. I said that as parents it's our job to teach them. She nods in agreement and says, that lesson can begin right now.
I couldn't agree more.