Runaway…

For as long as I can remember…when things got stressful…I wanted to run away from home…

As a preschooler…that meant…running away to…Aunt Lizzie’s house…she lived about a quarter mile up the dirt road from us…I never made it all the way…there was a small tree about halfway…it was there that I would stop to rest…and…Mama…would retrieve me…with a spanking and a hug…and…a grave promise from me…not to do that again…

Of course…I lied…

I can remember…lying in bed…as a teenager…experiencing…all the angst…that a hormonal girl can feel…and…wanting to hop in my 1959 VW Beetle…and hit the road…fortunately…I never did that…but…the longing was always there…

During my divorce…from my once husband…the need to flee…became great…and…I did…I ran away from home…well…not really…people knew where I was…my kids were taken care of…but…I did take a long weekend to St. Simmons Island…and…it felt like…running away

Years later…going through a particularly stressful time at work…getting ready for a JCAHO survey…and…some personal issues…I wanted to…BOLT…but…it was a time…that I had…neither…time…nor…money…to do so…

Just before all sanity left me…a little voice…yes…I’m sure it was…Bertha…even though I didn’t know her at the time…said…why not run to Sipsey…

Sipsey…of course…the Bankhead National Forest…and…Sipsey Wilderness…are minutes from my house…I’ve been going there…since I was a toddler…

I donned all my winter garments…including a pair of oversized bright orange coveralls…and…hit the trails…I remember…the freedom…and release…I felt that day…it was the perfect escape…

And…just in case…I needed any confirmation…I found my name…carved…in stone…on a huge rock…jutting out into the water…the perfect spot…for contemplation…

Bertha…says…that…there’s nothing wrong with my need to…run away…that…it is actually a good thing…to give myself the space I need…to recharge…to sort things out…when things get stressful…

She just reminds me…to be selective in how I do it…to choose ways…that actually…recharge me…rather…than adding more stress to my life…

And…Sipsey…still fits that bill…to a tee…

Jane

Life Trails…

Yesterday was a beautiful day…sunny…low 40’s…light breeze…a welcome change from Saturday…when the temps were in the low 30’s…with a strong breeze and spitting snow pellets…in fact…a welcome change from the seemingly endless parade of cloudy days we’ve had of late…

So…I did what I’ve been wanting to do for a while…I went to Sipsey River…now…for those of you who aren’t local…Sipsey is located in the Bankhead Forrest…only about fifteen miles from my home…and is my favorite…escape from the world…

There’s just something about the crispness of the air…the sun shining through the trees…icicles clinging to the rock ledges…and the river…gurgling as it makes its way south…that clears my head…and reminds me of who I am…

I’ve been going there since I was a small child…when our Bible School picnics would often take place there…or our family went for a Saturday afternoon outing…it seems that I would know the trail by heart by now…and…I do…I know when the trail is going to turn…when I get to climb over rocks or maneuver under rock shelves…I know where the two bridges are…when the pavilion is coming up…and…yet…it’s always a totally new experience…trees have fallen…changing the route just a bit…adding a bit of challenge here and there…but…somehow…I always manage to get over…get around…get to where I want to go…

Bertha…says it’s the same with my life…while it may seem that it is the same…that I’ve been down this trail before…that…it’s different this time…albeit familiar…it’s not the same…but…that just like my hike…I will get over…I will get around…I will get to where I want to go…

Interesting…I went there yesterday to sort out a question…and while I didn’t get a clear answer during my hike…I knew I would…and…here it is…where I really wasn’t expecting it…

How nice…

Jane

PS…I didn’t carve my name on my favorite climbing rock…but I was amazed one day…as I scaled up it…to find my name at the top…my sign…that I truly belonged at Sipsey…