Give Me A Moment, Please

I’m home now and will be back to work again this morning after four days of adventuring with a friend. There’s much to say about this trip because we packed as much as possible into every day. The good news is that there are stories to share. The bad news is that there’s so much to share that I need a moment to unpack it all in my head and get started.

So, for now, here’s a favorite picture that was captured while walking around Mount Airy, North Carolina. It exemplifies how full this trip was of memories made by simply being in the right place at the right time.

My friend and I were both of the mindset that we wanted to see and do as much as possibl while we were there. The hotel was basically a place for a good night’s sleep and a shower so we would be prepared for another fun day. We had some specific destinations in mind but were open to unplanned fun and wandering off the beaten path because there was a sign that pointed somewhere that sounded interesting.

Honestly? My best memories from these last four days are a product of saying YES when opportunity arose. We just kept looking around that next bend and kept seeking whatever came next.

That’s one of the keys to happiness, if you ask me. Life is big and interesting. Maintain a sense of curiosity, go looking for the unusual and the mundane and seek out the beauty in the smallest things. Stop and admire that great vehicle, notice the tiniest wildflower at the side of the road, be present and look for reasons to be happy. It’s there if you look for it!

Stick around. There’s a lot to come from this North Carolina whirlwind trip!

Back To Reality

I’m traveling home from an adventure with a friend today. There are so many stories to share but, for now, here’s a picture from the North Carolina Arboretum in Asheville.

I tell you to make the journey fun and am pleased to say that I did exactly that for the last few days. I’ll be dragging myself in tired tonight, almost overwhelmed with memories of beauty, history and the magic of finding something spectacular around the next bend.

Stay tuned. Stories will be on the way soon!

On The Nest

I encountered this lovely swan and her protective mate looking after their eggs at Yoctangee Park in Chillicothe. They made me smile and I sincerely hope they make your day too.

Happy Saturday, friends. Go find something that makes your heart happy today.

Revisiting Wesley Chapel

One of my favorite stories I have told here involves Wesley Chapel, an abandoned church just 30 minutes up the road. I hope you’ll revisit that story here.

Meanwhile, I stopped by the other night just to check on the old place and to further mourn its deterioration. Here are some pictures.

Things have worsened a lot since my first visit.

The windows had all been been boarded up but someone has removed some barriers so you can see inside from a few angles.

The piano remains, likely because it was too heavy to carry and impossible to even give away.

Can’t you hear it? I’m imaging an elderly woman named Mabel who pounded those keys with vigor as the congregation sang “Shall we gather at the river.”

This next image will haunt my dreams.

I don’t know why it bothers me so much but I find the sight of that lone chair in an empty and forgotten church entryway incredibly troubling.

The steeple still reaches Heavenward but it looks worse for the wear.

Here’s a closer look at the cross on the other side of the steeple.

Part of me wishes I could stop going there and part of me doesn’t want to try. Meanwhile, go read that first story if you don’t mind. Here’s that link again.

Delight

“We delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty.” – Maya Angelou.

We’re all a work in progress. While the process may not be pretty, it’s kind of exciting to think we have the potential to transform ourselves into something better than we can imagine.

If you could do anything or be anything, what would it be?

When Good Adventure Days Go Bad

Lest you think that my Adventure Days are always gloriously rewarding and fun, let me tell you about yesterday.

It was a bust.

We’ve had a dark cloud hanging over Ohio for a lot of this week and the weather continued to be gloomy and cool yesterday. I was tempted to stay home but had a commitment to keep in Columbus. I am part of a social impact study at Franklin Park Conservatory and needed to visit that place one more time before the end of May. Since my weekends are all booked this month, yesterday was really my only chance to go.

So I spent some time Friday night plotting indoor/outdoor activities in the Columbus area. I did not make concrete plans beyond that visit to Franklin Park but had a list of ideas. This is how I roll. I’m not the girl with the clipboard and stopwatch. I more or less wait till that day, see which way the wind is blowing and go with the flow.

Franklin Park was busy but great, as always. I spent most of my visit here with the butterflies. This is a transitional time as the spring flowers are almost spent and the gardeners are busy preparing for a new season. All the same, it was good and I had some lovely experiences with the butterflies.

From there, I wanted to hit up North Market for some good lunch and casual people watching.

This did not happen because there were masses of people everywhere. I didn’t get out of the car. Heck, I barely slowed down because my introverted self literally could not deal.

So I switched gears and headed for German Village to hit the bookstore and find something to eat. Unfortunately, it was even worse there. Haha. Isn’t that my luck?

If you haven’t been, German Village is a quaint community, a remnant of the city’s German heritage with some cute shops and restaurants mingled with homes and offices. The streets are narrow, parking is sparse and people lose their minds in search of literally anywhere to ditch their car on the way to brunch.

Friends, I watched a guy in an SUV attempt to shoehorn his car into a space not large enough for my Elantra. When that didn’t work, he used that parking space to turn in the street, holding up two lanes of traffic and nearly hitting someone’s truck.

I just shook my head.

The real draw here is an independent bookseller called the Book Loft which bills itself as having over 30 rooms of books. Mind you, they are very small rooms but it is a neat place and their website claimed they had a book in stock that I wanted to buy.

Nonetheless, I abandoned ship and headed for the nearest Half Price Books. They have abundant parking but tragically did not have my book. At this point I was determined to salvage something of this day so I headed to a nearby Barnes and Noble where I blessedly found the book. That book came with a bag full of other books that I wasn’t there to purchase but we won’t dwell on that small failure today.

I did find some peace here and even a laugh when I saw the title of this book.

Things Are Never So Bad That They Can’t Get Worse.

Mind you, it’s a serious topic but man, if this isn’t a great title for my autobiography I don’t know what is.

At this point the sky was foreboding so I started making my way southeast to Logan for a stroll through downtown. They were hosting Urban Air 2022, a camping event where Airstream campers take up residence for the weekend. It was chilly out and a little late so there weren’t many people out to chat with about their campers. I did make friends with the owner of a new vintage shop on Main Street so that was fun. Stay tuned and I’ll tell you about that store this week.

Honestly though, the highlight of my day (besides that sack of books) was a stroll through a graveyard at a country church near Lancaster. It was cool and the wind threatened to pull the hat right off my head but the sky was interesting. There are some very old graves to look at and it was peaceful.

Everywhere else I went yesterday was just way too peopley. This place was calm and quiet. It was intriguing and sad. It inspired my imagination as I wondered about the people buried there and what happened to those they left behind.

I eventually bought a frozen dinner and some new windshield wiper blades and headed home to my little cat. And yes, he was quite glad to see me.

So, yeah. That was my day.

In the last four years, nearly every adventure day has held something memorable. There’s been some spark of magic, some bit of delight that made it all worthwhile.

I was due for a flop.

This lengthy and somewhat bitter tirade isn’t meant as a simple vent for yours truly. I tell you all of this to tell you something useful.

Adventure days come in all shapes and sizes. In fact, I am a huge advocate of making your own adventure. For you, it could be a quiet stroll through the woods or finding a bargain at an antique store. It could be screaming through the woods in a zip line or trekking foreign lands most of us will only read about in books.

Adventure is what you make of it.

My best days are the ones where I come around a bend to find an aging barn, where I hear a new birdsong in the woods or the ones where I encounter someone willing to share their story with a stranger. My very best days are the ones where I become so preoccupied with discoveries that I forget all about my list.

Every day can’t be the very best day. However, we have the ability to make the best of every day. In fact, we have a responsibility to make the best of our circumstances and to enjoy the life we have today. After all, you never know when things will change and maybe even get worse.

In my case, I found peace in books and in a country churchyard. I found even greater peace ending the adventure and simply coming home to my little cat and to read in my chair.

It turned out to be a pretty good evening despite it all.

Notice this butterfly below and how it is perched on the flower in a sideways fashion.

Was that part of the plan? Wasn’t it? Who knows but it seems pretty happy anyway. Don’t let the rain or other people or things beyond your control steal your joy.

Be well and be happy, friends. We will adventure another day!