Friday, November 21, 2014

Cloud 8



Job 37:16
Do you know how the clouds hang poised, those wonders of him who has perfect knowledge?

My husband, Danny, and I recently spend five glorious days in the Nantahala Mountains of North Carolina.  Since we visit these mountains which abut the Great Smokies twice a year, finding a new cabin with a stunning view is becoming more challenging.  This fall, it is even more so as we wait until the proverbial last minute to make reservations.  Although it is larger than we need, our cabin, Cloud 8, proves to be the perfect choice.















And the view?  Could we ask for anything better than this?




As perfect as the cabin is, we take advantage of clear skies to do some exploring in the Smokies.  We head for Clingman's Dome, the second highest peak in the eastern United States, rising 6,643 feet above sea level, placing us a mile and a 1/4 higher than the shore line.  I can tell you, my ears pop fast and furiously along our journey as our Subaru navigates the not so gradual incline and hairpin turns which distract my eyes from the scenery I could be drinking in at the moment.

Most folks who visit Clingman's Dome walk up the sinuous, paved walkway to enjoy a breathtaking view of the Smoky Mountains.  In spite of this being the off-season, many tourists are doing just that.





I recall visiting the tower with my family when I was about ten.  It was awesome to me then, but Danny has long know about a different trail, one which we choose to take today.  It is one I haven't hiked in over eight years, and I'm agreeable only because I've conveniently forgotten how rough and rocky it is to traverse




I may look like a happy camper in this photo, but I'm anything but.  I'm having difficultly getting and keeping my footholds in spite of the sturdy hiking boots I'm wearing.  More than once, Danny has to give me a hands-up so my short legs can attain the next ledge.  I'm growing weary of painstakingly picking my way along the rugged path, and I'm uncharacteristically short of breath, probably because we are hiking at a more than mile-high elevation.  It's only a half-mile walk, yet I feel as thought I've attempted a marathon.

Danny offers encouragement.  "You can do this.  When you get to the top, the view will be worth every step you've taken."

"I sure hope you're right," I grunt, not wanting to go one more step forward, but for Danny's sake and his excitement about seeing the ridge once again, I press on.

As we approach the ridge top at long last, we hear the wind sighing through the bent and stunted trees growing there.  Knowing we're almost there infuses me with an unexpected surge of energy.  I clamber up after Danny as quickly as I can, and when I reach the summit, this is what meets my eyes.







The clouds hang poised . . .

We have ascended from Cloud 8 to Cloud 9.

And, we are rendered speechless before the wondrous majesty of God.

~

When have you been awed by God's magnificent creation?

Prayer:
Father, Your world reveals the mighty works of Your hands.  We thank You for the glory which is Your creation.  May we live in awe of Your wonders each and every day.  In Jesus' name, amen.

18 comments:

  1. Sounds like you had a magnificent time! Your pictures are pure magic. I am so happy for you. Blessings. I left one comment but don't see it now, so here goes try number 2!

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    1. Yes, Kathy, we had an amazing getaway which both of us sorely needed. I wish I could take credit for the photos, but with the exception of the two shots of the Clingman's Dome tower and walkway, they were all Danny's. :)
      Love and blessings!

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  2. Amazing post, Martha! Amazing. There are some breath-taking vistas on a few of the highways that I drive--depending on the season. God's creativity is amazing, awe inspiring! If the earth is this beautiful, what will heaven be like? Sometimes when it's snowing (particularly if I'm inside) it can really look beautiful.

    Love and blessings!

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    1. Thanks so much, Kim! Yes, God's creation is absolutely amazing; I can't get enough of this type of scenery, though I love the snow, too!
      Love and blessings!

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  3. Oct 20th we celebrated our 50th anniversary with a first time trip to Yosemite Park. Since I love the Smoky Mountains I knew I would love Yosemite. It was even more then I expected, majestic everywhere you turn, bigger mountains, sheer rock rising above the trees...beautiful. We hope to visit in the Spring and spend more time walking and enjoying the beauty of God's earth. Would love to see it in the winter but no four wheel drive so that may be out.

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    1. 50 years??? Wow! Congratulations, Betty! I've never been out west but would love to visit Yosemite one day. It sounds heavenly! Glad your husband and you got to enjoy its beauty on your special celebration of marriage.
      Love and blessings!

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  4. What a neat place to be! and loved your reference to clouds. Did you know I have a book proposal, but haven't pushed it lately all on clouds? I am fascinated by them and their lessons and love your reference to cloud 8 - that is really cute.

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    1. A book proposal about clouds? Sounds so intriguing, Jean. Go for it! I love clouds, too, and still play the game from childhood of finding shapes of animals and people in the white cumulus clouds so common here on a summer's day.
      Love and blessings!

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  5. The pictures are lovely Martha, you just transported me to that place through your post :)

    Adding it to my To-be-visited list... !

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    1. Thanks so much, Privy! Glad the post took you to the mountains. :)
      Love and blessings!

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  6. Replies
    1. Yes, Martha, it sure was!
      Love and blessings!

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  7. Wow. No words describe those last 3 photos you posted, Martha. Are you blogging from a divinely paradise:) ? Your walk to this spot is like all of our life journeys - it may be rugged and we may have challenges in getting there but it will be all worthwhile to spend our afterlife in God's arms.

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    1. Just the imagery I was thinking of, Vishnu, when I wrote this blog - life's journey can be rough and rocky, but what awaits us in the end makes everything worth the struggle. Yes, those last photos are of indescribable beauty . . .
      Love and blessings!

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  8. I saw some of your posts on Facebook about this trip, and your sharing of the whole trip here makes me smile. I have always wanted to do this - rent a cabin in the Smokies for at least a four-day weekend with someone special and enjoy a moment out of time. Your photos are beautiful, and that hike sounds like a lot of challenging fun! I can't imagine a more fulfilling, interesting experience - anything that pushes limits and then pays off with such breathtaking beauty is worth the effort, especially when it is done with someone you love. Thank you for sharing it with us, Martha! Have a blessed Thanksgiving this week, babes! <3

    - Dawnie

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    1. Yes, Dawn, you should definitely do this!!! The company we rent through is Watershed Cabins. You can check them out on line and even make reservations there!
      The hike was worth all my grunting and groaning when I finally reached the top. It reminded me that life, too, can be a rocky road, but heaven is waiting! :)
      Love and blessings!

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  9. Absolutely gorgeous Martha. It sounds like a wonderful visit, and the view from the ridge . . . wow! Thanks so much for sharing this with us. I often think of the beauty of this fallen world. I can only imagine . . . His presence in perfection. Awesome!

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  10. Wow, the heavenly view was certainly worth it, Martha! ;-) Thanks for sharing. It would be wonderful to have a vacation like yours with all the wonderful scenery, and of course with your family.

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