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Friday, November 27, 2015

Growing Pains at the Falls

Full of food and football, I grabbed a walking stick and flashlight and took off down the short trail. It had been a totally perfect day, basically because I had done almost nothing with myself. A true rarity in my current phase of life. But for some reason I was feeling restless and discontented. So at around 9 PM, I left.

My family and I are staying in a condo right on Toxaway Falls in North Carolina. It’s glorious. For weeks now I’ve been waiting to get to this point. Utterly spent. Nothing left, just limping along until I could make it to Thanksgiving. Why? I really didn’t know. I just felt exhausted. As if I’ve been barely squeaking by for a month or two. It’s been a tough season lately. Quick, but tough. A season of transitions. It’s been great, don’t get me wrong, but tough nonetheless. I’ve been growing more than I thought. Learning, changing. Essentially growing pains. And it’s left me weary. Couple that with the little stresses of leaving in January and it’s a lot. 

A view of the falls. 

Cut to the trail. I’d been warned of bears, but I wasn’t overly concerned. I actually prayed for a friendly one to come join me, because how awesome would that have been? A friendly bear would’ve been one heck of a walking partner (it didn’t happen). I was using the flashlight when I realized just how bright the moon was. I was reminded of something my ichthyology professor said in college. How you could see more by the light of the moon than you can struggling around with a flashlight. There has to be something profound in that somewhere, but I didn’t dwell on it. I did, however, turn off the flashlight and walked by the light of the moon.

I could tell this was something I was going to enjoy because my mood suddenly changed into that of curiosity and excitement. I had been down this short little walk to the waterfall before, but not at night and not completely alone.

It was cold. Windy. But calm in its own right. As I made my way to the giant open expanse of bedrock at the foot of the waterfall I began to feel infinitely more peaceful. Like my batteries were being charged in real time.

Crashing down the rock face.
The waterfall comes from lake Toxaway under a bridge and down a sheer rock face. It hits a pool and then winds quickly into a river that flows down several steep drops. Its white water rushes loudly as I navigate across the bedrock. It whips up a slight spray, making the area colder but much more pure seeming. Fresh. From the plateau of rock you can see the successive drops that then channel into a river. A wide valley looks into the river. Cabins light up the valley. Little lights throughout the forest. On this particular night it is cloudy, but the moon still shines through. Majestic and strong. It’s full, or at least nearly full. My forte has always been the things that swim rather than anything in the atmosphere, so I’m not entirely sure.

I found a dry flat spot in the middle of the rock and laid down. I stared up at the sky as the moon passed in and out of view. I listened to the roaring waterfall. The rushing of the fast flowing river. Felt the light spray on my face.

I breathed deep. Taking it all in. Savoring the moment. Feeling at peace.

I asked God what He was saying in this moment. Why He brought me out here. What He wanted to talk about. I offered up some topics that had been buzzing in my head, but it felt weak. Not quite where He was going. 

I waited for a minute or two in silence.

Then the real fun, the reason I was walking around a waterfall in the middle of the night, started.


God and I were about to have a very fruitful exchange.

Look for part 2 of this blog coming soon... 

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