An inexpressible joy came over me when I found it to be just a little over two hours from our driveway to Pisgah National Forest in North Carolina. A place where endless hiking trails, cycling, natural waterfalls, wildlife, and a very generous camping policy allowing someone like me to throw on a backpack, get away from everything and everybody, and sleep under a canopy of stars a dream come true. When Sandy and I were married over 32 years ago, part of our honeymoon took us across the Blue Ridge Parkway that intersects Pisgah. Again in 2003 when we rendezvoused there with our oldest son, Justin. At the time he was leading a band of rowdy, court ordered, at-risk kids on a 30-day wilderness trek - a final effort to rehabilitate young lives fast-tracking to a sad ending.
On Saturday, July 3, Sandy and I arrived at the entrance to the national forest with its sign--a wall of granite stone--with the words, Pisgah National Forest chiseled into its face. For me, the sight of it was like an invitation into the mystical. My entire disposition changed. I felt invigorated, alert, aware, renewed, and at the same time a sense of relief and security. I live with a constant and unyielding compelling to get back to nature that has to be satisfied.
As we drove the serpentine roads of the 80 mile loop, we were following a car with 20 or more bumper stickers plastered unevenly across its hatchback. Mostly, they were satirical, sarcastic, political, and new-age stuff. One of them was rather crude but also pretty pithy. It said, "WWJD? He would slap the s#*t out of you for the mess you have made of things!"
One of the driving forces behind my being drawn to the wilderness is to get perspective.
Poets and prophets are everywhere - if not always appreciated . . .