Bridge to Beauty


The First Bridge

We (this usually means my husband and me but if it includes walking add Cooper and Izzy) went out for a hike this morning.  One of the most wonderful things about living in Cordova, Tennessee is Shelby Farms Park and if you have read my blog these last few months you know, it has been a big bonus in my life here. Like many other southern states we are experiencing our first taste of fall.  This morning the air was crisp and still with new smells and hints of the color explosion to come.

So we headed off to the hiking trails which we like so much more than the nice paved trails.  Its easier on the joints, the puppy feet, and it takes us on an adventure of the senses with fewer interruptions by crazy bikers and women in spandex. Plus growing up in country settings, my husband and I both love the woods, the more the better.

The trails at Shelby Farms meander in and around the Wolf River. Besides the river there seems to be a huge ravine system that snakes through the woods and though dry now, it fills with rainwater as the city's run off funnels through its high, steep banks. Where there are rivers and ravines and other obstacles what do you find - waalaa - bridges!

I love bridges! (That's why I'm using exclamation marks. Just fyi.)  Bridges cross unexpected gaps and connect spaces via man made structure. Often man takes a moment to reflect on the surroundings and the bridge becomes a work of art. Installation art that thrills me with its design and promise. They are the ultimate symbol of our need as humans to conquer our obstacles and never yield.

Second Bridge and Cooper
Every time I see a bridge I feel like I am in a high adventure.  Out in the woods they are unexpected and out of place but they are constantly assimilating with nature as each vine, branch, and leaf interacts with them. I think they are romantic and mysterious like a dark eyed gypsy promising great secrets behind her beauty.  They are the door to another land, a glimpse at a new reality awaiting.

We walk single file since the trail is narrow and I often use this time to think and process and sometimes think about what I might use for my blog. Bridges seemed interesting but kinda "been there done that" so I put it on the back burner and thought - I will figure it out.

Third Bridge
As you can see the bridges just get lovelier the further we go.  The ultimate bridge that I am trying to hike to is about a mile further than where we stopped and turned back. 

Two funny things that I realized while walking today.  First, I really got a glimpse of the old me and I realized just what a determined freak I used to be.  I did not want to stop and turn around even though we were all getting tired and had been out awhile.  I wanted to make it to the other bridge!  Dang it.  This is where the old me says - do it and use your willpower when your reserves run out.  The prize is worth the agony.  I love her, that old me.  I think my husband hates her though, she is unrealistic at times and can really get us in a pickle.  So I was the mature and reasonable me and I agreed we should turn back and save that last bridge - the fancy bridge - for another day.  That excursion would have added at least another hour.

The second funny thing, we realized we had experienced some spatial illusion the last time we hiked a "big" hike out here.  Do you ever go a new route or to a new place you have never been before and it seems sooooo far away?  Then the next time you go there its like two blocks? We got to the point where we turned around last time (two weeks ago) and we both realized, it wasn't really that far.  This time we hiked way on past that point and everyone did great.  Space is a funny thing, it really messes with us and is so steeped in perception. Space can change perception and perception can change space. Hang on to this thought, we're getting to the good stuff.

So back to the journey.  After crossing the third bridge we were contemplating going back and I suggest we push ahead just a bit further.  I am so glad I did.  
The Clearing
A little ways down the path and we come around a corner to find this...

In the midst of these dense woods we are surrounded by a clearing.  It appears to be several acres of land that was once damaged by fire or wind or some force of nature. I am guessing fire because of the lack of undergrowth.  There are large dead trees on the forest floor but everywhere you look, there are groupings of small saplings being flooded by the morning the light.  I thought I would burst into tears.

Pictures cannot do this justice.  I tried to capture some of the spots of light but my phone camera cannot tell the story, I'm not sure any camera truly could.

Hopefully you can see some of the beauty and use your imagination to fill in the gaps. 

Two truths I was reminded of the first was, if I hadn't come to Cordova and got off my butt and started working for a better me, I would never have witnessed this moment of beauty.  I hope I never let spatial illusion keep me from my goal. It might not be as far off as it seems! Second, no matter what killed all those trees, and there were dead, fallen trees everywhere, God was able to recreate a more beautiful body of trees than ever before. 

(Job 14:7) For there is hope of a tree, if it be cut down, that it will sprout again, and that the tender branch thereof will not cease.

If God can recreate a beautiful forest after destruction how much more can he recreate one of His children? Am I not capable of a Godly makeover?  If I am willing to be made over.

{The bridge to beauty?}
      Be willing to use your energy to find the bridge.
Expect a miracle.

That's all ~ Thanks y'all!

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