"Let the sea resound...let the mountains sing together for joy..." Psalm 98:7-8 (NIV)
Summer is drawing to a close as the school year sneaks up on us. Leisurely mornings and spontaneous roadtrips will soon cease. But ah, the memories of summer will last a lifetime.
This summer we've had the privilege of visiting both the mountains and the beach. And they were equally delightful.
The brilliance of God's creation displayed uniquely in each location tickled our senses...cool, crisp mountain breezes enjoyed from the rockers on the screened porch, brushing over our skin and carrying the scent of earth and summer flowers...the grandeur of the mountains in shades of purple and blue...the sounds of trickling streams and music of dulcimers and fiddles...the taste of Famous Louise's fruit pies and morsels of perfection from The Chocolate Fetish and "Daddy burgers" fresh off the grill. Then there's the aroma of the ocean and suntan lotion, all coconut-ish...and the sights of the majesty of the ocean and its creatures great and small...the flavors of fried shrimp and Mamu's home cooking and desserts...the mixture of warm sunshine and cool air on your skin...and the giggles of children and families frolicking in the sand and water.
Mountains or beach? I'm torn.
The salty breeze off the water stirs childhood memories.
Like the anticipation of that first glimpse of the ocean. Eyes practically boring a hole in the windshield, focused on the horizon. Waiting. Watching. Hoodwinked occasionally by the mirages on the road ahead. More waiting. More watching. Finally cruising down one of the numbered avenues it appears! Just a little slice between the cottages on either side. Grayish blue stretching infinitely. Then a whitecap. "We're here!"
More waiting for check in at the familiar pink stucco lodge. Then unloading the car. Begging to get on our swimsuits and get out to the beach. At last, crossing the highway, plodding through the mounds between the sea oats that give way to the long awaited sight where smooth, moist sand and warm saltwater meet. Hoping there would be tidal pools...safe haven for little ones easing into the magnitude of the ocean and its waves.
Spying a treasure from the sea, a perfectly formed conch...the tinier the better...reminds me of God's attention to detail. Sand fiddlers tickling my hands still can make me squeal with delight. And you can't help but experience a thrill when the surprise of a wave that sneaks up on you from behind and momentarily takes your breath away.
And the remembrances that span almost 50 years, memories of family...as it's grown...and even as we've lost loved ones that shared those beaches with us...treasures.
Oh, I still love that first glimpse of the vastness of the ocean. It will forever be breathtaking. And in the evenings, there's nothing like a moonlit view across the water.
And then there's the moonshine of the mountains...not the kind you drink...the shimmer that washes over the hills and valleys, cascading through your windows, the perfect blanket of night.
Though I lived in the mountains of Kentucky for a time in my childhood, I think that my appreciation of those grand peaks is a passion I've acquired in recent years. It seems that you just can't help feeling a little closer to God up in those higher elevations.
My heart quickens as we draw nearer and nearer to mountain splendor spread before us. Then I can feel myself unwind as we meander up the curvy, pothole laden roads toward the lodge...a haven for relaxing and playing games and spending sweet time with family.
Early mornings on the screened porch surrounded by birdsong and echoes of campers nearby, with Bible in hand, prayer and praise flow effortlessly. A deep breath not only brings in fresh mountain air, but a tangible feeling of the Holy Spirit. God just seems so close. So vibrant.
No mountain trip (for our family) is complete without a trip to Famous Louise's for pie, and then a hike to Linville Falls to walk it off. Climbing to great heights, settling on great rock formations, feeling the forces of the waters descending to the river below. Climbing high enough to see eagles soaring beneath the overlook is majesty at its fullest. Then retreating back down and venturing into the caverns, observing the miracles inside the mountains. Stalactites and stalagmites and darkness that's the blackest of black. Viewing animals that thrive in that cool darkness. It's humbling.
We enjoy walks through quaint small towns with fun shops and ice cream parlors. Sauntering past Mandevilla vines and ivy flocked fountains and trees meant for climbing. Just pausing for a rest on a bench, watching people walking their dogs and chatting with family and friends. Leisure, pure and simple.
Mountains or beach? I just can't chose. And I'm thankful that I don't have to. There's nothing like being a North Carolina girl and being right smack dab in the middle of a state that harbors the best of both!
Lord, Your creation is astounding. What fun You must have had as You fashioned every little detail. Surely Your Glory is all around us! Thank You for allowing us to be a part and to enjoy the fullness of all You have made.