Stop and listen. Do you hear it? In the distance the wind rushes through the trees. Watch the leaves twirl in the gentle summer breeze. In front of you lay a path through the forest. Small blobs of light decorate the pathway, interrupting an almost ceaseless stretch of shade. The oaks, firm and tall, stand sentinel, protecting the paths. As they have done so since the time of General Grant. Our feet plod the soil in front of us, tiny plumes of dust rising at our feet. The heat and relative dry of the summer have made the soil the consistency of dust.
In the distance, a beautiful rushing sound threatens to envelop us. Beckoning and threatening at the same time, it constant din speaks of power and majesty. Over a rise in the hill, a waterfall churns its ceaseless mixture in the river below. The sound feels like it will drive you mad if you stayed long enough to listen to its regular hum. However, you cannot look away. It compels you to gaze upon it. It is raw power, unyielding.
As many of you know, I am still in the throes of moving. Yes, it’s a lot of work. Today we took some time out to go for a walk. Not just anywhere, but one of my favorite places in the world, Great Falls Park. It’s absolutely beautiful. A little crowded, but once you get away from the falls, the groups thin out. Why I like it is a little hard to define. There is something indescribably beautiful that claims the lives of seven people every year. Anything in nature that has that kind of power is beautiful to watch in action. Its raw and emotional.
I personally feel that the constant churn of the water is therapeutic. It takes the stress from you and sends it away. You are left feeling whole again, at peace with yourself and the world around you. The trees are literally hundreds of years old. It would not be out of line to imagine Civil War soldiers taking a nap under them to escape the summer heat. This area of Virginia has relics of Revolutionary and Civil Wars, and the Native American populations that came before them. You feel immersed in history.
The freshness of the air is only interrupted by whatever is in bloom at the time. People in the park are in the best mood they could be in. I always get the impression that most people in the park are in their best mood they will be all week long.
I think it is important, as a writer, to make sure to take time out of my busy schedule to spend time in the outdoors. It’s really easy to get wrapped up in life at the keyboard and forget what is going on around me. I totally can understand why someone would want to do that, but it’s bad for your health.
As this summer continues to grind along, no matter where you are, I hope you are taking some time to find your own “Great Falls”. It’s food for the mind and soul.
-Your Humble Servant, Bryan the Writer