October has been a rather rocky month for me and my family. I won’t go into to details – there’s no need to wade through all that muck. Let’s just say that our schedule, the renovation, and school mixed with a dash of illness, anxiety, demon-possessed computer, and traveling husband are beginning to cover the entire Whimsey Pie clan in a smoky haze of burn-out. Frankly, I’ve been feeling completely overwhelmed by life. That’s why, when I woke up last Friday to a cloudless autumn morning on the outside of the house and piles of laundry and dirty dishes on the inside, I decided to run away.
I didn’t run very far – only about a twenty-five minute drive. Even so, it felt like worlds away from the disaster that is my house and the craziness that is my life. I ended my flight at the edge of a pretty little wilderness called Kelly’s Run. The trail there is a vigorous loop that traverses varied terrain and sometimes follows the stream it was named after. Parts of it are very steep and parts are very rocky. The most difficult sections are very steep and rocky. This trail cannot be mindlessly attempted. It is not a leisurely stroll in the park. It requires focused attention so that twisted ankles don’t occur. That’s precisley what I wanted – to think of nothing but where to place my feet and how deep to breath.
Kelly’s Run has a wild beauty that I am always surprised to find in tidy, cultivated Lancaster County. Every time I visit, I feel like I am stepping into the realm of the Woodland Elves. It’s magical. And restorative. The peace and solitude certainly worked its magic on me Friday morning. I spent three hours climbing over logs, shuffling across ledges, stepping in hidden mud puddles, and soaking in the beauty of the place. When I finished the hike, I was tired but refreshed.
I’d like to say that my little escape made everything better. It didn’t. I still had to face the mounds of dirty clothes and dishes when I got home. I was still anticipating a very hectic schedule later in the day. The first floor of my house was still a shambles. Somehow, it didn’t seem to matter quite so much. Spending time alone in the quietness and familiarity of God’s incredible handiwork cleared the cobwebs from my brain and heart and sharpened my perspective. I felt more capable of facing my life. And isn’t that what a respite, no matter how brief, is supposed to do?
It didn’t stay cloudless for long. Typical October weather!
Kelly’s Run – the trail’s namesake.
This is the trail. I wasn’t fibbing when I said steep and rocky.
One wet foot from an accidental puddle stomp. I hate that!
God is an incredible artist and craftsman…..