I returned from my mountain getaway completely exhausted. After a lengthy snooze on Sunday morning, I followed up with a trip to the playground bench and an afternoon of art projects. The weather was gorgeous and I was completely content enjoying it at a snail’s pace. The irony is definitely not lost on me that my vacations wear me out and instill a need of a deep cleaning.
While the physical toll on my body belies the fact that I just had a much-needed vacation, there is a sneaky element at play. My mind is at ease. I am looking at people differently than I was a week ago. Conversation is connecting me with my friends and family instead of presenting me with puzzles to solve or fires to douse. Words are resonating with my brain instead of distracting me from my own thoughts. Life has slowed down and I’m enjoying it more. In this regard my trip was a success! Now, about those soaked hiking socks . . .
“Maple At the Mailbox” captures this easygoing sensation perfectly. It is a place where I would love to have a long conversation with an old friend. The stone wall provides a warm place to sit while my friend leans against the fence. The sun charges the leaves of the Maple tree with bright colors, and gentle breezes float them to the ground. The rolling mountains beyond give our minds plenty of room to wander. The cluster of mailboxes reminds me of a time when news arrived daily instead of buzzing in my pocket, and how that was okay since much of the news is not important anyway.
Scenes like this are scattered throughout the mountainous backbone of Virginia. The best way to find them is to drive around and get lost on the back roads. The farther from a cellular signal the better. Simple pleasures become much more vibrant as we are pulled from our digital safety net. Our senses are called upon to feed us information, and the mountains rarely disappoint!
With that I invite you to enjoy the photograph and consider a long drive out of town. Turn off the phone and look around. You’ll be amazed at what you will find!