Saturday, October 29, 2011

Peaks of Otter

Peaks of Otter, Blue Ridge Parkway, VA
I could get into this concept of choosing campsites by the number of deer calmly grazing as one pulls into the campground.

I had interrupted my journey down the parkway for a night; I needed to have my cell phone working because there was a family emergency.

I've been divorced for years, but that was long ago and far away and I bear no hard feelings towards my ex-husband.  The emergency was his - he landed in the hospital with an aoritic dissection and was undergoing emergency open-heart surgery. (Apparently the aorta has several layers - his had broken through the first one; he felt the classic chest pain that signals a heart attack and they were able to catch and fix it before it broke completely apart.)    For my kids, I wanted to be there in case I was needed.  Fortunately, the surgery went well, and I was able to head back up into the hills knowing he was on the mend.

SharpTop Mountain, Blue Ridge Parkway, VA
He and his journey were understandably on my mind as I went hiking up the mountain the next afternoon.  Our paths have diverged greatly in the almost two decades since we split up.

As I huffed and puffed my way up the hill, more in tune with my pounding heartbeat than I would otherwise have been, I pondered the forces that lead us to the paths we take.

My choices led me to a mountaintop that afternoon; his to the recovery room.  But I was not gloating, rather wondering about the whys.  Why do we make the choices we do?  In matters of exercise and heart strength, I have kept in mind my family history of heart disease, and have done what I could to lessen my chances of it hitting me at a young age.  But there are plenty of other areas where my choices have not been so wise; where I have taken the road that seemed easier at the time, rather than the one that challenged my limits - but probably would have led to a better life.

With any luck, this trip will clear my mind enough so I can figure out which choices will lead to beauty in my after-camper-van life.

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