Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Otter Creek

Eighteen years was all she lived, 1900-1918. Her name was Mary, married to A.A., buried under a beautifully carved head stone, surrounded by simple unmarked rocks of others. Just off the path at the top of the hill we came across cemetery and found her there. Running my fingers through the grooves that created a house, etched into the stone marking her grave, I could not help but think what went into those short eighteen years.

Mary was not the only one we met on this trek through the woods. On the footpath under the bridge, we came upon a young lady in a James Madison t-shirt fishing in the James River. She was with the USGS and was fishing for water samples, using a hand crank crane to raise and lower a plastic fish. She explained what they were doing, the simple translation is "seeing what's in the water." She loved what she was doing, and you could hear it in her voice. Cole was fascinated, just to watch her raise and lower the mechanism.

We found ourselves on the trails again this morning, this time around the Otter Creek area of the Blue Ridge Parkway. It was cool, but comfortable as we explored. Feeling the soft fur of moss, overtaken fallen trees. Peeking into crevices. Tip toeing along the stone walls of the locks. Checking fresh skat, from something there moments before. Seeking adventure.

Life is a vapor, here for a bit, then gone. None of us know the number of days we get, and can't add any more when we get to the end. So what do we do with the time that we have?

18 comments:

Ronda Laveen said...

With the time we have, we do exactly what you were doing...Carpe Diem and fish.

reyjr said...

what do we do? we blog, apparently... haha! jk.

Marianna said...

I think that sometimes we know more about what NOT to do with the time we have...and maybe that is the problem. I like your point of view on things Brian lol

Oh and the picture you posted reminded me of a movie 'stand by me' is the title (I think). The one based on a Steven King book...I love it.

Take care now :-)

Leah said...

Uh oh, I got a little teary. I guess I'm just in an existential mood...

I've taken my little girl several times to the very old cemeteries that dot the landscape around our Adirondack cottage. We marvel at the extreme youth of many of its inhabitants, and have discussed the miraculous but simple medical discoveries that have extended life expectancy in this country (innoculations, penicillin, etc.) But mostly we just look quietly...

Rob said...

Good stuff.

Daniel said...

A nice adventure and a good life lesson. Thanks for getting my morning going in the right direction.

VK said...

You know what they say... Life is short. Check Skat.

Brian Miller said...

@VK lol. or "Skat Happens. Live Anyway."

@leah...good learning for the kids. sobering to see someone pass so you, no matter when it was.

Tim said...

Good post, Brian. I miss being able to spend lots of time outdoors. Boy Scouts was always my excuse to get out and go adventure. Unfortunately, I am not pretty locked up.

Candie Bracci said...

Great post!To live in the moment.Not in the past not in the future but now!Thank you to remind us this.Also thank you for following my blog ;)
Have a great day Brian!

jake (to the) holla said...

so very true.... life is short and unexpected... it's wasteful to take it for granted.

i look forward to being in Lynchburg and being able to enjoy the surrounding scenery on beautiful days like the ones we've had recently

Mrsupole said...

Just such a sad thing to live a very short life, but then again we do not know what she did during that short time.

We have a longer life expectancy, but what are we actualy doing with it. I myself try to just survive day to day and be thankful for them, but mostly I try to spend time with family, friends and loved ones. We live on in their memories when we pass away and if we teach the young ones the right things so they can pass those things on then we continue to live on through our teachings.

They say life is short. But I say who's life. We are here for how ever long God allows us to grace this planet and we can only hope we were useful in some way. I always say I have outlived Elvis, James Dean, Marily Monroe, Natalie Wood and a lot of other people. I am not that old, but I am sure each one would have liked to live over 50 years. Now George Burns had it right, he said he was going to live to be 100 and by golly, he sure did. Maybe that is the trick to say you are going to live to be a certain age and that is how old you will be if you die of natural causes.

Anyway glad you had such a nice time and they also say that if you like what you do than that helps. That young lady was very lucky to be doing what she loved. Plus you are teaching those boys so much, they will remember these days forever. Very lucky boys, I must say.

God bless

Maggie May said...

Beautiful descriptions, story line. Lovely writing.

mouse (aka kimy) said...

wonderful post.... I like how you put it 'life is a vapor'....

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