The other day I stumbled across a . . . well, I am still not really sure what it was. It was a worship service of some type. I've been feeling a little off kilter this week and I decided I need to commune with nature. I love being outside. I find such peace in the woods. The weather has been a bit cooler and so I headed out to Red Clay State Park where it served as the Cherokee Council and ultimately the start of the Trail of Tears. Given it's location, the middle of nowhere, it usually is pretty quiet out there. Imagine my surprise when I arrived to find a couple hundred people gathered. As we lurked on the edges of the gathering, as I was not going home after having made the 20 minute drive with two over active boys, I needed to spend some time in the forest. As we lurked a man walked up and explained the event. He told us it was a coming together of the tribes that descended from the Cherokee and a mix of other groups (he mentioned Jewish and Christian) who wanted peace and healing for our land. He then smiled and told me this event was prophesied 7 years ago for this very day. He gave this look as if it was destiny we were there. And, maybe he was right. I needed a little peace and healing. He took a few moments to play his drum and a sing a song in his tribes language for the boys. He said it was a children's song about being thankful for the earth and the sunshine. It was so pretty. We lingered for a moment watching the service. They had prayer flags and where dancing and singing (it looked a lot like a charismatic church service). I finally convinced the kids to slip into the woods. We made our way down the trails with the music booming in the background. They started chanting in their native languages. It was mesmerizing and magical. Something so moving about walking on the Cherokee land listening to their songs. In that moment I felt so connected to the earth. To the trees. To the boys. To myself. I know why native Americans put so much focus on the earth. Their land is beautiful, full of magic and secrets. It breaks my heart to know my ancestors forced them to leave it. And, while I didn't jump in and start blowing the shofar... Oh yeah, they had a bunch of them. Can't have a gathering like this without them. I do think I was supposed to be there. It stirred something in me. A little reminder of the beauty and magic that surrounds us.
This is my favorite picture of the boys. They kept staring up at the trees.
First, isn't Cherokee so pretty? Second, doesn't it look like it saying it will take 10 hours to complete? I think there was dot at one time (1.0) because I can't image a 1.7 mile hike taking 10 hours. We didn't make it very far down the trial but I think we are going to try it again soon (when I have on better shoes)
They boys slipping off the trail to explore the creek.
We are still a week away from the official start of fall. But, there are little hints of the beauty that are coming all around.
At one point Henry asked to stop on the trail and pick up acorns. My initial response was to say no but then I thought about it and said "why not?" So, I just sat down in the middle of the trail and watched the boys. It was pretty nice.
Henry spent five minutes "mapping out our route."
It is blurry, but I love this picture. You can't real expect them to stand still when there is so much to see and do.
This Friday the 13 (on the 13 year) turned out to be just what I needed. A bit of good luck on a historically unlucky day.
PS. There is something so comforting and delightful about the first pumpkin spice latte of the season. I took mine with me on my little walk. I rarely drink lattes but I always make an exception in the fall. Yes, the fall! She is almost here!!.