We felt pretty rested after a good nights sleep, and ready to hit the trails in the second park. This park was actually easy to locate. There were signs showing the way into the park - even on the interstate! We did not have cell service (again) but it was not a problem to find our way today. We stopped at the visitor center and picked up this map and actually had a helpful guy mark out that path in yellow. The trail lengths were marked on the map, but I am sure that those figures are WRONG! We only took the trails marked "easy" or "moderate" and not those marked "difficult" or "expert". When we started out, we thought the path was only about two miles to reach the waterfalls. Boy was that ever wrong. First of all, the paths were not flat and level. They were uphill and rocky. And twisty! It was quiet and peaceful. There were trees and small streams. But it was also HOT and HUMID! We did see some amazing cascading streams and we saw "Stone Mountain" (the name of the park). However, we were most excited to get back to our (rental) car and discover that it has air conditioned seats! I guess we don't live far enough south to see this feature on cars in our area. All I can tell you is that having that cool air blow on your seat and your back is a most pleasant experience. For all of my northern friends, just remember how wonderful it is to hop in your car on a subzero morning and have that heated seat warm you up, this is exactly that kind of wonderful.
The path of my life is much harder than I thought it would be. There are so many twists and turns and some days it feels like every step is all up hill. There are those moments of quiet wonder and also those times when the views are amazing. But squashed right along with the good times are those times when you just feel like giving up and not going one step further. While I may not trust or believe the maker of that trail map above, I know that I can count on Jesus, who has created the path for my life. Even with those difficulties along the way, the destination is assured. The best part is knowing that that flowing water of the Holy Spirit is always with me.
If you have not planned some time to just be outside and soak in the wonder of God's creation, you need to do so today. There is no better way to settle your spirit, to get revived to face those twists and turns of life, than to walk on a path in nature. Even if that path is not exactly what you expected when you started out. Even if the walk is more difficult than you thought. Trust me, it will be worth it! When you get to the end of that trail, the views are amazing!
Jesus, thank you for knowing that we would need your creation to restore us. Holy Spirit, what a wonderful gift those flowing streams of water were for me today. Remind us all of your presence with us. Thank you for surprises found in books. And thank you for mountains and air conditioning! Amen