It is early morning, and the trail beckons. At dawn, the sun surprises us with a gift: a necklace of fire around the rim of the sky. Oak and pine soar in myriad shades of green overhead, while in their shadows the bursting colors of persimmon, dogwood, and redbud intertwine with honeysuckle vines to beckon us from either side.
We walk down the silence of the trail, heading into astonishment. The wind wafts enticingly in our direction, bringing with it the scent of yesteryears’ campfires, heady reminders of warmth, companionship, and love.
Taking a side trail, we come across a clearing. In its center are the remains of a cabin which now welcomes not human visitors, but all of nature: rain, snow, hail, sunshine. The cabin walls lie crumbled, enmeshed in a blend of vines: ivy, brambles, and the occasional wild rose blooming with abandon.
Beyond the cabin’s walls, masses of honeysuckle vines, rhododendron, and hearts-a-bustin greet us with sweet scent of life while the songs of cardinal and mockingbird help convey nature’s joy. Beneath an entrenchment of honeysuckle, we spot three mounds. Two are marked by stones emerging from the earth to reveal scratched symbols. In an earlier time, these markings identified name, date, and reason, but what remains of the designs now merely mystifies. The third, smaller mound lies sheltered between the other two, gently protected from the world it never knew.
The warmth of the sun on our faces reaffirms renewal of life. Above, a hawk soars; below, we pause in silent respect.
Later that afternoon as we rest at the trail’s edge overlooking a valley of forests and patchwork farms, a speckled fawn emerges hesitantly from its shelter of evergreens, inquisitively sniffs our outstretched fingers, then silently returns to the woods.