For the past month, my mantra prayer has been for God to help me enjoy what is put in front of me. I’ve been thinking of Jake Owens’ song We All Want What We Ain’t Got. I have such a tendency to think I’ll be happy when I get a new job … or a new love … or more money … or … whatever. I know in my 12-step work that we are encouraged to fit ourselves to our current situation and quit trying to change things we can’t control. I can’t help wanting Jake Owens, too, but I ain’t got him either.
We All Want We Ain’t Got by Jake Owens.
This trip that I took between Christmas and New Years was specifically designed to visit friends. I had no other plans than to see my friend Nancy and meet my new friend Leah. Even taking the trip was a matter of acceptance. I don’t like being off this time of the year, but I’m forced to take my holidays now. It’s a bone of contention with me that I have to take a vacation day to be off on Memorial Day, but I’m forced to take time off when everyone is busy with family, and vacations are ridiculously expensive because the ones that aren’t busy with family have to get as far away from family as possible. So, I decided to enjoy what is put before me and use the time off to take a drive.
Nancy lives near a little town called Jasper TN. There is a trail in that area called the Fiery Gizzard Trail which is ranked by Backpacker Magazine as one of the top 25 trails in the country. I was dying to get out and hike but it had rained for two straight days and was foggy as all get out. So, I asked my hosts where I could take a little walk. They pointed me in the direction of Foster Falls. It’s a small natural area literally 3-4 minutes from their house. I took Ashok, and I was stunned to see that this wasn’t a little waterfall. It was fabulous.
At the foot of Foster Falls
We hiked below the falls along the stream, among the boulders and the dripping rainwater. We were the only visitors, and it was a really lovely treat.
Stream at Foster Falls
My dog teaches me so much about being happy. She takes everything as it comes. She had a blast on the hike. She’d run ahead of me and then run back as if to say Come on, Momma … hurry up! Her footing was a little more secure on those wet boulders than mine so she walked at least 3 times as far as I did. But, she was supremely happy the rest of the day, and she loved our hosts.
I headed out yesterday morning to meet my new friend and co-worker in Huntsville, and I decided to hop off the highway to find a breakfast place in a town called South Pittsburgh. They had taken their town mascot from the Pittsburgh of another place and was dubbed the home of the Pirates. I couldn’t find a restaurant, so I walked into a local business and asked for a recommendation. She suggested Harvey’s. She said it doesn’t look like it’d be good, but they had great biscuits. I would have never stopped at this place without it being recommended, but the breakfast was delicious. Of the 9 patrons in the restaurant, only one was a woman. I’m not sure they’ve seen a strange woman in that town in a long time because I was definitely the entertainment for the morning. When I left, I glanced back, and every eye in the place was on me. I waved goodbye, and they waved back. I highly suggest the biscuits, but they don’t have real butter. Bring your own… but, you will enjoy what’s in front of you.
Huntsville was a big surprise. It’s a really cool, happening town. I spent several hours with Leah, and we found it hard to find a place to stop talking. We ate at a really cute local coffee house/cafe called Cynshea’s. If you are in the area, give it a try. I had the white chicken chili and a home-made roll that knocked my socks off. I headed toward Baton Rouge at about 3:30 and figured I could get home that night if I drove straight through.
I didn’t get too far, though, when I passed over a series of lakes called the Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge. I’m not sure what grabbed my attention because I had already seen some beautiful scenes on the way down, but my heart jumped out of my chest, and I said ‘Wow … wow!!” out loud. I decided that that this was one of those opportunities when I should enjoy what’s put in front of me, and I made a right turn to go to the Visitor’s Center. Along the route, I saw and heard ducks, geese and Sandhill Cranes by the hundreds … maybe even thousands. The Visitor’s Center had some short trails and an enclosed observatory where you could view through scopes and hear over speakers the sights and sounds of this fabulous refuge. Birdwatchers and photographers were all over the place, and a fellow visitor told me that right now they have about 15,000 Sandhill Cranes wintering at the refuge. They also have documented about 8 Whooping Cranes this season. It was an amazing place. I hung around until sunset, and was very glad I made the stop.
Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge – The birds were too far away to get good pics, but you can enjoy the sounds.
I, of course, didn’t make it home last night. But, that’s okay. This has been a journey designed to take as it comes and to enjoy what’s set before me. Those birds that fly thousands of miles each spring and fall to follow their natural instincts do a similar thing. They head in whatever direction they feel led and enjoy what’s set before them. Sometimes their trip doesn’t turn out well, but, more often than not, it’s fine. There is always a place to land, company to keep, food to eat and plenty of delightful surprises. I can learn a lot from their migratory journey. I wonder what will be set before me today.
Happy New Year, Y’all. I hope that you will enjoy whatever is set before you today and in the next year. I’m sure going to try.