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The Feed


My husband and I visit the Smoky Mountains once or twice a year. We stay in the Gatlinburg area which sits at the base of the Smoky Mountains. My husband and I married young, age 19 and 20. We honeymooned in Gatlinburg TN, affordable. We are at a 44 year elevation and still climbing.

The Hike

My husband and I went on a hike in the Smokey Mountains. We chose to challenge ourselves. The hike we chose was listed as medium difficulty.

Before we set out on the hike we read about the trail.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park (U.S. National Park Service)

Hiking. Charlies Bunion is a popular day hike destination. The 8 mile jaunt to Charlies Bunion, located on the Appalachian Trail, is a popular day hike. Caution is advised in the backcountry. Elevation gain 1,886.

We drove up the mountain to start our hike. We found the trail head, looked down it and decided to go ahead and take the hike. 8 miles to our destination and back.

What a beautiful trail I thought as I walked along taking in the scenery. A view of the mountains to the right, awesome. I was on it, the Appalachian Trail amazing! I was enjoying nature. My husband...not so much. I love the mountains, woods, hiking. My husband is not as thrilled about it. Once we started walking he made some discouraging comments. I tried to lift his spirits, look at this, do you see that? His comment “When can we go back, there’s nothing here.” We started to walk over rocks, small inclines and tree roots. The high mountain condensation and a little rain begin to show itself. Big decision should we put our ponchos on now? We did. We returned to our challenge. We never expected so much treachery.

Later we talked about turning around and decided to continue on to the bluff. There was a turn off somewhere, we figured it had to be close, we’d make it soon. Tired and gasping for our lives (it felt like) we finally made it to the turn-off. A split in the trail, Mt LeConte or off trail to the left to Charles Bunion overlook. Off trail, backcountry. We turned left and started to hike. Cold, tired, no real trail.... we kept on going through bramble, nature’s beauty and an uneven not so much trail.

Somehow the further we hiked on the trail the closer my husband and I became, together and lost. We united in our misery, it felt like strength to me. Are we there yet? This was our main conversation. The fog was so thick we had limited visibility. The mountains are known for fog, the smoky mountains. We were thick in the smoke.

At some point we stopped asking about getting there and just wanted to be there.

The mountain was so smoky with fog we couldn’t see where we were or if we passed the bluff. We stopped and thought if we passed the bluff we’d be off the cliff. Steep fall without a chute.

Caution, how far do we go? Is this it? We saw no signs. I clinch my teeth.

We went back and forth finally deciding to call it success, where ever we were. Together we began our decent on solid ground. 4 miles down. A steep decent. Rocks, earth and trees.

Are we there yet? Not so much oohing and awing. Eyes to the ground, the earth.

I picked up a stone, it caught my eye. I still have that stone and I always will. A remembrance of our backcountry hiatus. The stone represents hard work, fun times, the mountain, the fog and its fine cool mist. I hold this stone and remember two people struggling on a high mountaintop. Safe together. I hold my mountain stone and remember the beauty of the mountain. We made it.

Here and There....

What is it about a family coming together after years of separation? Today it just happened to be for my Aunt’s funeral.

I am remembering my aunt and thinking of all the elders that she is with now. Thinking about the few that are still here. I am blessed with the presence of the two remaining matriarchs, my mother and my godmother, still here with me.

Loved ones in spirit. I see my father, my aunts, uncles and grandparents standing together talking about nothing in particular. It’s like they have all the time in the world. I guess they do. As my Aunt joins them she seems ready to stop and rest, it took her a while to get there. The elders in spirit just stay calm like they already knew she’d be here, I mean there.

Thinking about the funeral and even before the funeral, I recall family memories. Memories that started with my aunt and radiated out from there. Memories that seem small lead to more memories joining from one to the next until I am surrounded by my entire family. All those memories allow time to not really matter. Sort of like all the passed elders that stand together in comfort with all the time in the world.

So to see my cousins after such a long time felt comfortable with memories supporting us. The memories support our bond. Our elders are the bond, whether here or spirit.

I open my heart and see a higher power. The memories, the bond passed from generation to generation. This is the tree

Updated: Jan 18


First everyone steps onto the wheel.

How do I find balance?

I feel like I’m spinning on a merry-go-round in a playground. The wheel has a wood base and placed round the wood are several steel pipe bars to hold on to. It looks kind-of like a pie. I remember this wheel from when my siblings and I were kids. Oskamp playground was our favorite.

First everyone would step onto the wheel then get a good grip on the handle. One person would stay off to start the spin then jump on and find a place to stand. The challenge was to stay on for as long as possible while the wheel-go-round kept on spinning.

Once familiar with the basics the next challenge was to try to jump on and off and stay balanced, standing on two feet. Gravity in motion? It would take a few tries but eventually everyone mastered the challenge.

Another great way to hold balance was to move in toward the center of the wheel while keeping a grip. Wheel moving, spinning, feet firmly grounded on the wood. Steady with confidence my siblings and I would loosen our grip from the bar and raise up our arms. The feeling, thrilled with the accomplishment. With arms up we’d ask, how does this happen, how does that work? What’s holding us steady, giving us balance? Gravity? Natural Law? We look at each other and ask, “Who’s got our hands?”…. We Look Up.

Check out my mediumship site.

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