The day was not off to a good start because I was nervous about getting to an appointment on time, upset that the gas card was rejected while John was traveling, and annoyed that the little freezer demanded an emergency defrosting. A day later, two of my concerns have been resolved, and the other will be eventually when I set aside an hour or so to be on hold with customer service, a definite misnomer.
After my skin got its annual “all clear” from the dermatologist, son John $ suggested we go somewhere for fun. Without saying a word about my state of mind, he set out to lift my spirits. We had a rather late start, but he made the most of the time. We drove through the gorge, one of my favorite places to be. If you’ve ever driven I-40 between Knoxville and Asheville, you’ll know the area I’m talking about. The highway winds its way along the Pigeon River with steep mountains looming on both sides. It is gorgeous and so different from valley views.
It took me years to realize that a day or a week in $’s company has a theme. One summer he teased our grandsons (his nephews) about the mythical wampus cats in this area. Last year a common thread with the boys was introduced by saying, “This reminds me of THE HUNT.” The ensuing conversation was done in an upper-class English accent. The theme for our jaunt this time was from the British comedy Keeping up Appearances. John imitated Hyacinth, Mrs Bucket, as she would say with utter disdain, “It’s BOUQUET.” I couldn’t help laughing every time.
We got off the interstate in Tennessee and drove to a camping area beside Big Creek. The camp was closed for the season, but people were welcome to park and wander by the stream. As we got out of the car, $ asked if I wanted my cane. I’d brought it in case we walked on uneven ground or needed to go on stairs without railings. We started up the trail, but turned back when a fallen tree blocked our way. We spent the rest of the time leaning on the sturdy bridge over the creek. What a delight it was! $ was a marvelous companion, never looking at the time or shuffling his feet with impatience. It was very restful to be with him, suspended in time, looking and listening to the stream.
I know by now that not all streams are created equal. Big Creek is filled with large boulders atop great slabs of smooth rock. Our local Jonathan Creek is more shallow and lacks the dramatic boulders. Because we were there for a long time, I saw things a mere appreciative glance would not have revealed. The lower angle of the sun showed intricate patterns of light in the swirling water. $ likened it to fish scales, overlapping and shimmering.
I didn’t catch other dazzling lines that appeared on submerged rocks, as good as any sound and light show. As the sun went lower, it created shadows from the ripples. Those shadows looked like lively creatures, wiggling downstream for a few seconds before slipping away. I could almost see that when playing the short video in repeat mode.
Even with jackets on, we were beginning to get chilled. Chills make you move faster than a timer would! We were home in plenty of time for $ to pack up and head out to see friends in Asheville. I really appreciate his taking me out and restoring my equilibrium with several hours of mountain fun.