the forest and the trees

We’ve been doing a good bit of stomping around in the woods lately, Tim and I. Perhaps it is because I come from mountain stock that I find my soul nourished there. Or maybe it is the thrill of the surprise. In the forest, there is always something beautiful to discover.

Take this last weekend, for instance. We were back in the mountains of Western North Carolina—following Clemson on Thursday night, then Greenville for a little Tupelo Honey brunch on Friday, then Charlotte for the bucket list Eagles concert with our oh-so-fun friends the Rojeks and the Ormes.

As if that were not enough(!), we got up early on Saturday and headed back to Bearwallow Mountain. This is what our trek looked like from the outside:

Not bad.
Not bad at all.

 

We went on in. I love the sound of those leaves crunching beneath my feet, the smell of November in the air. I looked up. I looked around. I looked down. That’s when I saw this:

 

 

It was just lying there, a dead branch among all those fallen leaves. But when I bent over for a closer look, I was astounded by the colors and textures and miracle of it all.

 

 

I mean, can you really believe this is not piece of sculpture or an art installation or a feature at a gallery opening? It’s just an old dead branch, lying there on a carpet of dead leaves in the middle of this forest.

 

I mean, really.

As one of my favorite writers, Winn Collier, reminded me this morning:

There is wonder everywhere.