Busy, busy, busy

I wondered if being settled into an area would make life boring, but the exact opposite is proving true. This month is insanely packed with socializing and adventures. Last weekend, Handsome and I were hosts to my friend Herculine and her boyfriend (who also happens to be one of my college friends) Smiler. Though only a brief time, we made the most of its every second. We brought them to market and then we went on a hike at Buttermilk Falls, which is a most glorious climb. Handsome and the Smiler went ahead while Herculine and I made our way slowly, encountering faeries and many a deep energy in the water-rushing canyon. Sitting on the edge of the water at one point, I was again struck with awe at the depth of nature’s power and how that power is deep song that the Lord sings into my veins with abandon. I felt simultaneously still and running with all my strength so that I might fly. I was with a friend who I muchly love, in the midst of gorgeous rock-water wood, and I could Hear the Song so close to my ribs I could ache. We wound our way through, enjoying all that was around us, discussing faeries in hushed tones and touching all that we could get our hands; be it rock, water, tree or mud, we felt and drifted.  Walking down, we had to stretch our legs out long and stiffly like fancy gentleman, and holding a single hand aloft as though we were carrying parasols of fancier ladies. Twas the only way one could go down the steep stairs with any measure of grace don’t ya know 😉 That evening, we all made cookies and drank until we were pleasantly giggling into our cookie ice-cream sundaes.

The next day dawned absolutely gorgeous. I chose to go to church while Handsome took our guests to Green Lake Park. I am glad that I went because I am enamored of the sermons and the energy of the place. Though it is a tiny little church with narry another person my age, I find a deep peace when I am there. Plus, as I said, the sermons are instructive, simply delivered, and beautifully crafted. In my faith, I find that I am drawn to places that are more concerned with the intricacies of the God that we serve rather than evangelistic tactics. As far as I am concerned, if I am taking time to go to church, then I don’t want to spend that time listening to why I need to keep taking that time out. I have already made that decision, thus I would rather learn more about how to deepen my relationship with God. Unsolicited tangent, but tis just my personal feeling on the matter. I arrived home before the rest of my party and I took the time to enjoy the sun and the glorious weather. Later that day, Herculine, Smiler, and I went to see a show at the Stage. This is the first show of the season and Herculine’s cousin is in the cast. I was familiar with the script and I was curious to see the show (plus, it is the first show in which I had direct painterly involvement here). Although the piece was three hours long, I was delighted to discover that the actors are brilliant. They did not miss a beat and they managed to keep the energy of the dialogue constant. The set and technical effects were wonderful, and the costumes were absolutely drool-worthy. It is rare to see a production so cohesive and I feel humbled that I had a hand in realizing that cohesion.

As for what is to come, right now I am in the midst of visiting my dear sibling. She has possession of the rest of my artwork, and I had to deliver her an original work from my own hand. Thus, here I am, alone for the moment while she works. The view out her window is dappled with autumn, sun, and tree branches. I must admit, it’s nice to have a day fully to myself. Next week, Handsome’s mother comes to visit, then the next week brings WonderWoman and a trip into the City to see Sleep No More. Busy? Just how I like it :).

From MA to NY, an Adventure: Days 3 and 4

Saturday found us all awake early for one reason or another, SexyHistorian went to work, I drove her, and Persephone went to the farmers market for the purpose of acquiring eggs. I was able to come back an sleep for a time, as was Persephone. When we awoke, we whiled away the day with some relaxing in the apartment mixed in with more walking about the town center. The evening was a lovely cinematic festival. The three of us gathered to watch Pan’s Labyrinth (utterly brilliant film that you should definitely see if you haven’t already) and Wreck it Ralph (please refer to the earlier parentheses, except insert “delightfully clever” for “brilliant”). During this veg, I learned how to crochet. Now, I have been knitting for years and while I definitely respect and admire crochet, I did not want anything badly enough to learn the craft. Well, SexyHistorian made the most incredible granny-square blankets ever ,which led me to remember a huge stock of small skeins in every color imaginable that’s within my possession. I had been trying to figure out what to do with this stock forever and suddenly an explosively colorful granny-square quilt seemed like a perfect idea. Thus, SexyHistorian patiently showed me how to make them. I am proud to say that I think I have the technique down well enough to suit my needs. A most productive movie veg indeed.

The next day, Handsome came to visit. He happens to love the area and he is on very good terms with both the ladies who hosted me. During the day myself, Persephone, and Handsome explored the Quabbin Reservoir (please refer to Outakes post below). We managed to have a lovely outing before the rain began in earnest. We returned with some Trader Joes goodness (blueberry goat cheese is going to be my new obsession), and all of us ate a most healthy meal. From there, Handsome and I joined SexyHistorian for a movie at her favorite haunt called Popcorn Noir. I had been to this place for trivia night, but Sunday was a better look at what the establishment normally presents. Just imagine an intimate space with comfy chairs, a large viewing screen, incredible snacks, and a penchant for playing fantastic movies. That night, I saw the original The Day the Earth Stood Still and I found myself pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed the film. Usually old movies are fun to watch for being hoaky, but this movie was actually engrossing despite the time period in which it was made. I gorged on popcorn drizzled in chocolate, delicious beer, and churros of the most mouth-watering variety; all the while snuggled against Handsome who also enjoyed himself tremendously. Twas a fitting end to the Massachusetts portion of my journey. The next day, Handsome and I headed to New York.

Outakes (Quabbin Reservoir Excursion)

While I was staying with Persephone and Sexy Historian in Amherst, I had the opportunity to visit this fabulous gem. The Quabbin is a remarkably pretty place that has a lush variety of the outdoors to enjoy. Whether one prefers a rigorous hike in the deep woods, or a quiet stroll along paved trails overlooking the reservoir, this place provides enjoyment in equal measure for all the outdoor explorers who travel to her.

My first look over the reservoir

My first look over the reservoir

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We happened upon this group and while I desired a closer shot, I decided not to risk flustering them.

We happened upon this group and while I desired a closer shot, I decided not to risk flustering them.

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A Place to Make One Believe in God

 

I am one who feels the presence of the Lord most strongly when I am tromping about in His raw creation. In other words, natural places with lots of trees and few people about. Handsome and I decided to take a trip to such a place. For the last 5 and some days, we have been exploring the Great Smoky Mountains National Park via the gateway through Bryson City North Carolina. Handsome found us a most beauteous cabin for our base of operations, and while I will certainly post pictures of its fabulousness, I am far more excited to share some shots of the wonders we found on our various adventures.

A shot from the first trail we followed. Easy walk, nothing rough.

A shot from the first trail we followed. Easy walk, nothing rough.

Handsome kindly posing on a rock bed we made our way on to during our walk.

Handsome kindly posing on a rock bed we made our way on to during our walk.

Handsome spotted these two floating along, and thanks to my new lens I could actually capture them properly.

Handsome spotted these two floating along, and thanks to my new lens I could actually capture them properly.

From that simple trail, we were pointed in the direction of Mingo Falls. Please be aware that in order to reach these falls, you have to climb about 170 steps of varying size with an unyielding, steep incline. However, the sight is definitely worth the climb.

Glorious

Glorious

Frozen Teeth

Frozen Teeth

Closeup

Closeup

As long as I live, 
I’ll hear waterfalls and birds and winds sing. 
I’ll interpret the rocks, learn the language of flood, 
storm, and the avalanche. 
I’ll acquaint myself with the glaciers and wild gardens, 
and get as near the heart of the world as I can.  John Muir
From the falls, we decided to take a drive along The Road to Nowhere. No, this is not just an unofficial title created by a Shel Silverstein enthusiast, that is actually the name of this stretch of highway. Despite its lack of intelligent stopping point, the road was full of wonderful overlooks, and a tunnel that hid an incredible treasure. (NOTE: Some of the following pictures may include some profanity and inappropriate images. I tried to pick the least offensive shots, but just in case, my posterior end is covered.)
Did not expect to find this in the Smokies

Did not expect to find this in the Smokies

One of the (many) sections of wall

One of the (many) sections of wall

Another closeup

Another closeup

Yup, yards and yards of graffiti and street art. The tunnel was probably around a quarter mile, and every inch from front to back and six feet up was crawling with layers of paint. I could not have been more overjoyed because such a plethora of this type of art is often difficult to find, let alone photograph. The credit goes to Handsome who prodded me to go with him into the tunnel. The above pictures are just a pittance of what I photographed.

A shot from one of the pull offs on the RTN

A shot from one of the pull offs on the RTN

And another

And another

Our final hike proved to be the most difficult hike that either Handsome or myself have previously encountered. The trail is called the Smokemont Loop, which is 6.5 miles round trip. The distance does not seem so terrible, but here is the breakdown. The first 2.5 miles is consistently uphill. Not just a minor incline, I am talking a steep, unending uphill battle that does not have any breaks to its name. Then, the next two miles are a sharp downhill where keeping your feet is glorious fun. Finally, you then have two more miles of flat terrain, crossing over the river on occasion. Please also note we had done a 3/4 mile nature trail prior to this hike, so all things told we hiked 7 miles that day with about 3 miles (the nature trail was also mostly uphill) of it being uphill. I did not get pictures of the first four miles because I was a little preoccupied with actually accomplishing it, but later in the hike I remembered to enjoy pretty scenery.

A more calm part of the river

A more calm part of the river

Handsome and I enjoyed these little bridges immensely

Handsome and I enjoyed these little bridges immensely

I just really like this shot

I just really like this shot

I chatter, chatter, as I flow,
To join the brimming river,
For men may come and men may go,
But I go on forever. Alfred Lord Tennyson

The sights I have seen only more strongly instill in me the Presence of that Whom I love most dearly. I hope to return to here, as well as go on to find more such places in this wide world.