A man should hear a little music, read a little poetry, and see a fine picture every day of his life, in order that worldly cares may not obliterate the sense of the beautiful which God has implanted in the human soul. ~Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
It is my fourth trip to Nashville, Tennessee, in almost as many months. Three I’ve driven and only once did I fly. There is something sacred about the drive. The scenery takes on new shapes while my car travels from the lowlands of Oklahoma through the Ozarks. Following a now known route, we find our way to the Cumberland mountains. My car climbs the summits and explores the valleys. The drive feels more like a pilgramage to me than a trip. It is as if I am following some small distant voice, searching not for greener pastures but rather a closer view of the face of God. Beauty was calling me, and I wanted to find her.
I am at home in the mountains. My grandfather once had a cabin in the foothills of the Andirondacks. Being in the mountains, any mountain brings me back to those days. In the mountains, my soul finds rest, my spirit soars, I am surrounded by beauty and I am reminded of God.
The trip to Round Cove to spend time with Randy and Chris Elrod was an anniversary gift to my husband. To say that the last twelve months have been busy is an understatement. We needed time to get away.
Randy and Chris graciously opened their hearts, their spirits and their time to us for 48 hours. They offered insight, fellowship, prayers, and encouragement. The cove itself offers everything that this female heart desires; Adventure, Romance (Relationship), and beauty to unveil.
There is one piece of the story I don’t have a picture for. Jeff, Randy, Nordeck and I traveled to the Cave at Round Cove. I’m not sure how many feet under the ground this cave is, I just know that traveling to it takes work. It’s rugged, and it’s dark. It is not for the faint of heart.
Randy and Nordeck led the way and I traveled behind Jeff. We stepped over rocks, and pieces of wood and even though I was directly behind him the minute his lamp left my feet I was surrounded in darkness and couldn’t find my footing. I was struck by that and remembered the psalms – Thy word is a lamp unto my feet. Without God’s word and his marking my steps, I have trouble finding my footing.
Even more breathtaking was the beauty that was hidden under those layers of rock. The cave was spectacular. And even though I was unsure of my footing and spent my time in the cave sitting in a chair, I could not help but be taken in by it was giving to me in return for my attention. I was willing to put the effort into traveling down passed the rocks and branches and the earth opened up and returned beauty in payment.
Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul. ~John Muir
Never lose an opportunity of seeing anything that is beautiful, for beauty is God’s handwriting — a wayside sacrament. Welcome it in every fair face, in every fair sky, in every flower, and thank God for it as a cup of blessing. – Ralph Waldo Emerson
We also had the joy of gathering eggs each morning. The chicken’s did not seem to mind, but the rooster sure did. Jeff had to hold him back with a stick while I gathered the eggs.
I find this last picture fitting –
As wonderful as the time away was and as the mountains are, I am reminded not only of God’s provision, His love and His Grace, I am also reminded of the heart that He placed inside of me. I cannot see in my surroundings, or other people, those things that do not already exist in myself. I bring with me what I find in any place whether it be beauty, turmoil, or relationship and joy.
I carry the heart of Eve. The lightness of soul and spirit. Joy in the simple things, peace in fellowship. It is the truth of who we are (His Beloved) and what are created to be.
So, the only question is, do we answer the call?