After accumulating 16 hours in the car, a few decent pictures, some much cherished time with both new and old friends, some incredible affirmations that I am deeply loved and watched over and a supper of backyard greenhouse greens and a local egg, I’m beginning to decompress over chamomile tea in a cozy corner of a local coffeeshop.
To begin with, the trip North and West was incredibly free of delays, stopped or even heavy traffic or obstructive weather. (Though as a side note I don’t recommend getting stuck behind a slowly creeping vehicle descending to 15 below the speed limit on windy 2-lane mountain roads – especially ones with no good bumper stickers.)
Tennessee (where I stopped to stretch my legs, saw my first Daffodil of the year(!) and munched on some wild onion and peppergrass.) Kentucky (where the grass is most definitively green; the greenest I’ve ever seen, in fact.) Illinois (hmm, not much to say on Illinois – except, where are all the bumper stickers?) Missouri (where there are even fewer bumper stickers)
Here I stopped for the night with some old friends who are both attending Seminary at Covenant College’s Grad School. They have 2 adorable and extremely hospitable daughters. Aside from a couch for the night and multiple cups of hot tea, getting to catch up with my old youth pastors from Asheville was a much appreciated encouraging pit stop.
Now, when I stopped in St Louis, I didn’t expect to begin to enter “farm and garden” mode; so it was to my great surprise to find out that my friends had started the college’s first community garden, now in its third year, complete with 13 raised beds, 2 dedicated to perennial and annual herbs, a compost area, and other perennial plants such as strawberries and rhubarb!
They’ll hopefully be planting mache this week and constructing some ‘warming tents’ out of clear plastic or Re-may and hoops for a couple of the beds to get them through the first few weeks of Spring.
And come to find here that though I had been praying for some chance encounters with other believers to offer support and encouragement along the way, God is way more imaginative, creative and big than than I give Him credit for and has provided multiple contacts, friends, family and authentic church communities all throughout Colorado and the Northwest through my friends here in St. Louis. Yes, much more creative than I. (Thanks to all who have been praying on that for me as well!)
The thing about driving through the flatlands……… is the sky; the expanse over me; the air element penetrating me more than I’ve ever felt. In the Appalachians, the earthy nature of God is constantly rising up to meet you, to get you to notice the fertile ground, the trees, the permanence and stability of the land under and around you. Groundedness is the dominant vibe. Out here, the feeling of exposure, of nakedness, of the thought that I could stretch as far as my limbs could stand and it still wouldn’t be of any consequence, that I could run for miles and miles and the horizon would only seem to back farther and farther away, the yang of my expansive environment, makes me want to respond in yin fashion and become small and folded up in a sense. To just wonder and revel in the fact that
Not lost, not wandering, just peaceful, small, and held in amazement of the epic. You could never cloud-watch back in the mountains the way you can out here.
Must head back to the house to meet Natalya (Pinwheel Farm’s owner and operator, who’s been at work all evening) get a good night’s sleep in my new room, and in the morning to get to know the sheep and work on weeding out the overgrown green house and start getting 2010 in the ground.
(And as an extra side note, there are still no bumper stickers to be seen. My car sticks out like a sore, green thumb.)