My family and I recently returned from a much needed break from the daily grind. What better place to relax and rejuvenate than one of my favorite places, Gatlinburg, TN. Although the weather wasn’t prefect while we were there, I always take away a bit of wisdom from these visits, and this trip was no exception.
1. Slow Down & Keep Your Eyes Open
A little porch sittin’ never hurt anyone. And when you can look off your porch and see one of nature’s finest on a pre-hibernation hunt, it’s even better. When one of these guys is pawing playfully in a mountain stream, feet from your doorstep, life seems a little less ordinary.
2. Celebrate How Far You’ve Come
One of our favorite jaunts is along the Motor Nature Trail in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. There are a handful of old homes and farms along the route that beg the writer in me to invent hypothetical scenarios of times gone by. The life of these early settlers was so different from our own, simple and pure in a way that most of the population will never fully understand. Visiting these old cabins reminds me of how far the pendulum has swung. Here’s hoping it gravitates a little more towards center as years continue rolling by.
3. Don’t Let the Scars of the Past Blacken the Sprouts of Possibility
In November 2016, the Great Smoky Mountains endured a catastrophic wildfire. The scars of that event still mar an otherwise pristine wilderness. Wandering through those areas, one can’t help but to reflect on how fragile life is, yet also how resilient. We could all continue to look back and lament our “what ifs,” but it’s the future that holds our hope. Check beneath the char, my friends. Possibility is there, lurking like new growth beneath a blackened façade.
4. Put on a Coat and Brave the Storm
Weather, figurative or literal, isn’t always sunny and warm. But even on the days when it spits snow and ice, get out there and brave the storm. Only then will the sugar-frosted peaks show themselves. Opportunity only knocks when we go looking for it.
5. Appreciate the Beauty in Each Moment
Even the most mundane of moments are worth appreciating. The way that beam of light falls across the kitchen floor, or the way your spouse crinkles his brow when deep in thought, each moment is worthy of appreciation. The beauty is there, even when we’re run ragged by our day to day lives, if we look hard enough, we’ll find it.
Our trip may have been short-lived, but I will carry these thoughts with me until the next time I venture into the folds of Tennessee’s tranquil peaks and valleys. My goal, until next time, is to apply each bit of mountain wisdom to my own daily routine. I hope you can find a way to make them applicable to your dreams, too.