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  • Writer's pictureSharon

A Planned Pause; An Unexpected Reset

My friend and I had talked about making a trip to her lake house for a long time. Finally, our schedules synced.

I anticipated the change of scenery. I looked forward to downtime; I planned to hit pause on my presumed expectations and hyperactive thoughts.

We arrived late afternoon.

Dusk descended. The flames of the bonfire hissed and popped as it danced across the wood. Frogs hidden in the thick grasses, peeped. A limpkin screeched obnoxiously, and annoyingly. A group of coots, aptly called a commotion, honked loudly. The full moon rose, bright white against the pale blue and lavender sky. I scooted closer to the fire and tucked the blanket tight around me. The fire slowly died. Conversation waned; yawns waxed.

I awoke early and, bundled in a blanket, settled in a rocking chair on the porch. The stars were still bright against the black velvet sky. A gator’s grunt echoed across the water. I shivered. Morning broke painting a pink-rose-gold ombre sky. The still water reflected the heavens.

The rose-gold hues warmed to an intense golden-orange. The sun rose above the distant tree-line, spewing brilliant, blinding sunbeams across the water. A raft of ducks skimmed the lake’s surface. The coots called. The limpkin whined. Songbirds twitter-pated. I stopped rocking when something rustled in the nearby underbrush. My friend chuckled and assured me that in all the decades her family had owned the house, they had never seen an alligator in the yard.

We took a walk along the long oak-canopied dirt road. My friend pointed out deer tracks, raccoon prints, and a golden eagle perched atop a dead pine tree.

Thick woodlands gave way to farmland. A herd of cows near the road stopped grazing and gave us a stare-down before bolting away from the barbed-wire fence.

A drive to town took us through miles of farmland. Clouds of red dirt billowed behind big green tractors. Car traffic yielded, patiently, to a huge tractor moseying down the road.

Narrow sidewalks hugged awning-covered storefronts. Small businesses peddled their wares in large windows. Cast iron light posts lined the streets. An old lamp-post clock, which doubled as a watchmaker’s business sign, not only displayed the hour, it boasted it had been around since 1948. I discovered there are no strangers in southwest Georgia.

A dirt-covered black locomotive, pulling a long line of rusted freight cars, moved slowly along the railroad tracks that paralleled the highway. Grain silos, poultry farms, and small white churches dotted the landscape. After crossing over the Flint River, the highway narrowed and led into the historic district of Bainbridge. Park benches in the town square were shaded by large moss-covered live oaks. Restaurant seating spilled out onto sidewalks. The bell in the clock tower of the county courthouse rang out the hour. No one seemed to be in a hurry.

On the way home, we drove to a nearby state park. In 2018, Hurricane Michael had caused massive destruction on the forest lands, and took down the tree that housed an eagle’s nest. Yet the eagles had returned to nest in a nearby pine tree; and they had returned again this year. A bald eagle was perched on the edge of the nest. From a distance, I took photos. She was still for a few minutes before mounting up and taking majestic flight.

We returned to the house and settled back into the rocking chairs. The evening was a repeat of the night before. The night sounds returned and the moon rose. I savored the moments.

Later, as I laid in bed, I thought about the eagle. The visual of the eagle mounting up from the nest, taking flight and soaring on the wind encouraged my heart.

I had come to the lake hoping to put a pause on my presumed expectations. Instead the Lord hit reset on my perceptions and, unexpectedly but clearly, affirmed the longings of my heart.

It was time for me to mount up and take flight.

But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint. ~ Isaiah 40:31

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