My husband and I had been looking for a time to get away to the mountains this Fall, and this weekend it finally worked out. I admit that I was less than enthusiastic about it. Yes, I was less than enthusiastic about going to the mountains. Hard to believe. But we had had a tough week. Hobbes is going through some sort of terrible separation anxiety or just plain fussiness, and Calvin woke up with a fever late Thursday night. None of us had gotten a good night’s sleep all week, and I was ready for a weekend at home doing nothing. We weren’t even going to get to stay two nights, so the trip hardly seemed worth it.
We left after my husband got home from work and drove the three and a half hours to my uncle’s cabin by the lake that weaves its way through my mountains. It was after 10 o’clock when we arrived, and Calvin wasn’t asleep yet. When Hobbes woke up as we tried to transfer him straight to bed, I about broke down. I was so tired!
But then it came to me, that fresh, cold air of the mountains in Autumn, the smell of decaying leaves and earth. And we walked in to find a fire prepared by my uncle and ready to light. Calvin may have been up until midnight, and Hobbes may have thrown a fit until even later about going back to sleep, but it didn’t matter. It was cool and clear outside, and the inside smelled of a real fire in a stone fireplace.
The boys did sleep late, and despite what should have been a rough night, we all woke up more relaxed and refreshed than we have been in ages. Some of my family drove up, and we all ate breakfast and watched the mist clear off the lake and the blazing mountains come into view. After a leisurely walk, my family left, and we sat by the fire with the boys and just enjoyed the quiet, no TV, no internet, no noisy traffic.
After naptime, we packed up and headed out for a mid-afternoon, gut stuffing meal at a local family-style restaurant. If you are from my neck of the woods, you know the type--two meats (country ham and fried chicken for us) and a slew of greasy vegetables, washed down with a glass of sweet tea, and topped of with some banana puddin’. Hobbes could not get enough of it, even the soup beans. He is mine, no doubt about it.
With that fuel for the journey, we headed back over the mountains, taking the most scenic curvy roads and enjoying the mountains at their peak of loveliness. Around every turn we were met with brilliant gold and dots of bright red. And occasionally we happened across a mountainside covered in dark green Frasier firs, remnants of a long-abandoned Christmas tree farm. We stopped to investigate a tiny old Episcopal church set in a beautiful valley. We bought apples at a roadside stand, Jonagolds and Staymans, two of my favorites. And we topped it off with hot chocolate and chai at a coffee shop in a small college town.
We didn’t leave the mountains until dark, getting home later than we had hoped. Calvin was up late yet again, and I was up even later watching my game. It should have been an exhausting whirlwind of a trip that left us ready for a real vacation. But my husband and I kept commenting that it was a perfect day. There is only one explanation: it was a gift from our Father, who was able to refresh and renew us in the little time that we had and in the places that we love the most.