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Chattooga Sunrise

Chattooga Sunrise

Have you ever wondered? Have you ever sat, breeze against your cheek as dawn breaks through the horizon and wondered? Have you found yourself holding your breath mesmerized at the light that transforms fear ridden darkness into familiar comforting surroundings? Yellowish rays slicing through barren trees, grey mist rising from some hidden water source, and the scurrying of some unseen animal ushering in a new day. Have you ever wondered what those rays bring with them? Do they bring heartache or joy? Do they bring sorrow or happiness? What does the mist carry with it as it wafts into the morning air?

If you are like me, you find yourself wondering. You wonder about those whose cup is always empty, and those whose cup seems too overflow. You wonder about those whose dreams are only a nightly occurrence and whose imagination is their only hope of discovery. You wonder about those who cannot find the joy in anything and those who seem to find joy in everything. You sit motionless as your breath finds its way into the morning air, and wonder. If you are like me you sit and wonder as the squirrel buries another acorn and ask yourself, “will he remember where it is when his stomach growls?” And as the sun climbs higher in the morning sky, you find your mind trying to absorb the majesty as you wonder about . . . . it all.

As a sportsman, I often find myself in places many others dream about. Places where the wilds engulf the soul. I find myself wading forgotten creeks in unnamed valleys, and I wonder about those who have gone before me. I wonder about the Indian or trapper who forged this creek. I have found myself standing and staring at glaciers fifty miles from another living soul and wondered about its progress. As the world elsewhere whirls around, this river of ice trudges along an inch at a time, year after year century after century. What has it seen? Where had it been? Was it here when . . . .?

I have stood, watching and listening as a creek gurgles along sculpting land and stone mesmerized by the tranquility and power of the shallow flow. And I have observed raging torrents that move boulders and carve canyons. And I have seen the northern lights as they dance across arctic skies. But I find that I do not have to travel to distant places or foreign lands to see and wonder. No, there is plenty of wonder right here where we spend most days. The loyalty of a dog. The softness of a down pillow, or the “crack” of an egg, all bring wonder to those who watch and listen. The wonder of creation is all around us. Fledglings leaving a nest for the first time, the crowing of a rooster, or lowing of cows. Orange and pink sunsets, cloudless days, full moon glowing in the night sky. For those who are willing to pause, and gently listen and look, the wonder is all around us. And for those who do so, we are able to enjoy the radiance of it all.

Of the many things I have seen, I marvel most at old abandoned homes that are being consumed by time. Homes that were everything to someone so long ago, and now mean nothing to all who stumble by. I have sat on the porches of shacks nestled in the hills of Appalachia and cabins along the tree line of the Rockies. I have sat on logs hewn by hands hundreds of years before and wondered. I wondered about those he loved enough to spend weeks making this home. And I wonder about those he buried in unmarked graves. I wondered about his life, his struggles and his dreams. Did his children scamper along these ridges? Was this fireplace where they hung their stockings?

Have you ever wondered? Have you ever sat with friends around a fire and wondered? Have you stared wide eyed into the flames, and wondered about the meaning of it all? Have you gazed at the star filled sky and wondered how many stars there are? Where are they from, where are they going? Have you wondered as you gaze into the heavens, who else is looking at these heavenly lights?

I have, and I bet you have too. I bet you have sat and watched as flames consumed the wood to bring warmth and wondered about the tree. You have stared at the stars and wondered, did Columbus see these same stars as he sailed into the unknown? Did those whose name I carry sit long ago and stare wondering about me and what I would become?

Through all of this I find delight in the wondering. The pondering of this and that brings a smile to my face as I imagine. Wonder is a wonderful thing. It invites imagination, complexity, and simplicity. It brings with it an awe that the ordinary is magnificent. It brings with it the certainty that what is, will always be. That there is order in the chaos. It brings with it the confidence that what is now will be again, and what has been is now. The ordinary is marvelous. The ordinary is breathtaking.

When the rays of the sun change, and the shadows shorten as the warmth of the day begins to overcome the cool night I am reminded that just like centuries before, the sun will rise again. A new day will emerge among all of the heartache and joy. I am reminded that this new day brings with it the hope that today is new, it is a fresh start and with it are all the possibilities we could ever imagine.  I am reminded that each blink is revealing and each breath refreshing. I am reminded as I wonder that today is full of anticipation, today is full of promises. I am reminded that today is exactly what I make of it. So I will wonder, I will marvel at all there is and continue to be captivated by the ordinary.