Tuesday, October 22, 2013


Blue Ridge Mountains, NC
Betsey's Rock Falls, NC

I had finished my preparation to facilitate our adult bible class, so I made a last minute decision for a road trip to the North Carolina Blue Ridge Parkway. The early morning weather reported a peak color advisory for the leaves in the soft mountains that are only a two hour drive from home. So I assembled my camera gear, filled up the gas tank and headed northwest to the high country.

This week’s class relates to God’s providence in our lives. One of the discussion questions asks us to share a situation of providence that we have experienced in our lives. I can reflect on a number of occasions where providence guided my life such as the day I washed out of mechanical engineering and finally chose to grow up and get my college degree in another field I liked; the day I met my future wife of forty years and chose a committed relationship; the day I chose to leave for another company and stayed for thirty years to advance my career; the day we chose to move to North Carolina, stretching our comfort zone; the day we chose to join a community church and began to serve using our acquired skills; and the incident on the mountain today.

I arrived at the entrance to the Blue Ridge Parkway just outside Boone, North Carolina by late morning. My intention was to drive southwest for a number of miles and then make my way on up to Blowing Rock for a late afternoon lunch. But as I exited highway 421, I approached a construction road block for that section of the parkway. So, as fate would have it, I chose the exact opposite way I had planned to go. After driving about twenty miles and taking a number of photographs of the blue hued mountains in the background along with vibrant autumn colors in the foreground, I pulled off onto one of the many scenic view parking areas.

I grabbed my trusty Nikon and took a much needed stretch out of the car into the brisk fall air. A gentle mountain breeze was rustling the colorful leaves all around me and the sun was intermittently highlighting the ridges and valleys below. The area was aptly named Betsey’s Rock Falls in recognition of the seemingly cascading rock formations across the valley. Unfortunately, there was a lot of underbrush obscuring my view. Then I noticed a narrow rocky trail leading off the parkway that had the promise of an unobstructed angle for my camera. Once I had located a clear view, I raised my camera with my left hand and began shooting a panoramic image from left to right. As I moved to my right while focusing on the viewfinder, my right foot slipped off the mossy rock under me and both of my feet were down in a flash. I only had a split second to unconsciously extend my left hand to protect my camera as my right hand attempted to break my fall and I did an Olympic face plant on the offending rock under me. My eyeglasses were knocked away and the knee that I had replaced seven months ago was bleeding through my denim jeans. I took a quick inventory with my bleeding right hand and discovered more red blood oozing from my forehead. Only then did I have the clear mind to look around to see if any strangers had pulled into the overlook to observe my athleticism in action. Thankfully, I was spared an embarrassing YouTube debut, so I gathered my bent eye glass frame, inspected my camera for any damage and managed to right myself. It was only then that I noticed there was a sheer drop off within about six feet of my fall. It was then that I realized my rocky path had been providential today.

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