In the Cool of the Evening

Driving through the mountains. Windows down. Wind blowing through my hair. Classic rock playing on the radio. It’s summertime. The road curves in switchbacks; back and forth, rocking me from side to side. The view around me is lush green; light, dark, all shades. I smell sweet honeysuckle, the perfume of the mountains this time of the year. A sigh escapes my lips. Ahhhhh. I love it here. I cannot believe I get to live in such a beautiful place. I am so blessed.
I park the car. It is my walking place. Unicoi Lake. This evening it is cool. At dusk, the mist rises from the smooth surface of the water. A light breeze sends ripples moving across the surface, the motion temporarily interrupts the mirror reflection of the mountains. Water still once again, the image returns detailed down to the leaves on each tree. It is like a magic mirror showing me a sacred place.
The mountains roll down to the edge of the water and up to the sky. The green leaf blanket extends from the green-brown water to the pale pink sky. The mountain perfume is stronger here, so sweet I can almost taste the nectar. I walk onto the path, into the shadows and light that dances with the breeze. A bed of ferns as tall as my knees covers the ground on both sides.
I walk swiftly, in a race with the sun. The birds are singing goodnight songs all around me. The smell of campfire smoke reaches my nose. Someone is having burgers somewhere close. I cross the lake at the far end and see fish swimming lazily, deep under the surface, which is quickly changing to black. The fish taunt the fishermen, staying just out of reach; playing hide and seek. As I move along the trail, a creek gurgles happily, cheering me on in my journey. I wish time would allow me to take a break to wade, but not tonight. Tonight, I smile and picture my feet going in the ice cold water one hot afternoon soon.
The flowers are hidden among the green shadows. Peeking out their full blossomed heads, the mountain laurel are beginning their show. The pale pink almost glows in the grey of the dusk. Rhododendron are in bloom as well, the competition for most beautiful flower well underway. Woven together through the bushes, on the sides of the trees, and along the ground, the honeysuckle claims dominance. White and yellow tiny blossoms drip with fragrance and I am tempted once again to stop and take a taste of childhood. Once again, I move along, ever conscious of the setting sun.
I hear silence, except for my beating heart and quiet footfalls. The woods are going to sleep and I do not wish to disturb them. I move on into the darkness rounding the last curve. Almost done. Just a few more steps and I will ride away from this favorite place. It is cooler now, but I am warmer. However, the sweat does not bother me because the view is spectacular. The sun is gone now, but its light remains on the horizon illuminating the purples and deep blues of the mountains as they sleep. The water has a blanket of mist, tucking it in for the night. The cool air still carries the scents of summer, even as the quiet envelopes the scene.
I remember the Bible says God walked with Adam and Eve in the cool of the evening and I know why. It is the most miraculous time of the day to witness the creation, and worship the creator. I am in training for the walk of my life…for my life and the ones I love. I enter into this physical challenge, and partner with God to take my life back. I cannot think of a more fitting way than to walk with him in the cool of the evening.

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