The trail levels a bit as I crest the hill. I enter a clearing and pause to admire the view. Brightly-colored trees adorn the rolling mountains that extend in every direction, soaking in the morning sun. A crystal autumn sky promises a beautiful day.
I hike early in the morning to revel in the solitude and maximize visual rewards. My greatest joy is sharing a quiet sunrise with Nature, watching the world come to life. My head clears as if the morning breeze blows the worries off my brain like a stack of paper.
Eager to reach Mount Rogers I resume my walk through the field. I hear a sneeze and instinctively say “Bless You.”
A few steps and I stop short. I raise my eyebrow and slowly turn around. I see nobody on the trail behind me or in front of me. The air is still and quiet.
Turning back to the trail I hear a grunt directly to my left.
Squinting my eyes to see into the still-dark forest, I make out a rounded outline. It is a Highland Pony, one of the famous inhabitants of Grayson Highlands State Park. I’d heard that the ponies were in the valley yesterday, but I hadn’t seen any to this point of my trip. Consider this a status update!
Sliding forward a bit and letting my eyes acclimate to the darker light inside the woods, I am able to find the pony’s face. Neither approaching nor retreating, he watches me from the safety of the woods. I hold steady on the trail, returning the favor. At this moment the only thoughts crossing my mind are admiration, curiosity and wonder.
My hands fidget a little as I decide which action to take. Part of me wants to pet the pony to feel how soft his mane feels. Another wants to reach for my camera to commemorate the moment. I decide to return to my hike, leaving the pony in the solitude that I was so hungry for a moment before.
The warm memory gives me a spring in my step as I climb Wilburn Ridge. Gorgeous views await me around every switchback. About halfway up I spot a large outcropping of rock – perfect for a snack break. Resting my back on the warm rock, I let my mind wander through the fields below. I follow a brightly colored leaf as it tumbles on a gentle breeze.
I soak in the peaceful surroundings, losing all track of time. It is a wonderful feeling.
“Grazing On a Colorful Mountain” captures the feeling of this timeless morning. Warm tones decorate the mountain sides and surround a pony calmly poking through the brush. The scene has a calming charm that still captures my imagination for long stretches of time.
Thank you for reading along and sharing this moment with me. I hope you enjoy a restful and enjoyable fall! As always, I’d love to hear from you. Please drop a comment below!
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