Summer is right at our doorstep and the question arises . . . where shall we go? Being a life-long resident of the southeastern United States, the top two choices seem to be the mountains or the beach. The inquiry is often made, “which is your favorite?”. Hmmm, something to ponder.
When our children were young, trips to the mountains or to the beach were easily managed. We stayed in either a home or a condominium where we could eat our meals in and have some quiet space not found in a hotel room. There were plenty of outdoor activities for restless little ones and it was relatively inexpensive.
I remember wistfully looking forward to the day they were old enough to go on a more adventurous vacation like a cruise or a tour of the west. Silly me! I would love to turn back the calendar and build a sandcastle on the beach with my toddlers or tromp through the woods with my young children.
What is it that makes the mountains or the beach so special and the backdrop of so many memories?
I think it is because they are God-made destinations.
Don’t get me wrong, living a mere 45 minutes from the tourist mecca of Orlando, I could be counted a frequent theme park visitor in years past. But, that is not where my best memories reside. Those are reserved for the natural places.
The mountains of North Carolina are quite different than our flat, Florida landscape. The undulating peaks and valleys look as if they have been covered with a great wooly blanket – verdant shades in the summer or a riot of red, orange and yellow in the fall. In spring, a variety of exquisite flowers decorate the landscape. The cool mountain air offers a welcome respite from the intense Florida heat. Mountain streams and waterfalls offer the pleasant sound of distant trickling water. There is a sweet fragrance in the air – freshly mown grass. Unfamiliar wildlife make their appearance; fireflies, deer, chipmunks, hummingbirds and perhaps, a bear!
Such beauty. Such peace.
But, then, there is the beach. Specifically, the gulf coast where the sand is like powder and water the most beautiful shade of aquamarine. The sun warms the face. The smell of salty air greets you as soon as you arrive. The sunsets are most often glorious and lightning storms in the distance reflect the power and majesty of God. Seagulls, pelicans and a small flock of parrots entertain with their fly-bys but at the same time torment the dog. Each May, momma sea turtles struggle up on shore to deposit their burden of eggs, just as they have for thousands of years. Dolphins, manatees and rays glide throughout the warm gulf water. Treasures from the sea, intricately designed seashells and sand dollars, are deposited on shore, waiting to be retrieved by seekers who walk the beach perpetually stooped over, eyes focused on the ground. Pure bliss! My happy place!
It does not happen often, but, I experienced the mountains and the beach in the same week which led me to contemplate:
Am I a mountain person or a beach person?
There is only one possible answer . . . I am both!
Both locations draw my spirit away from the world and its cares and cause me to refocus my attention on the beauty of our creator God.
How about you? Do you consider yourself to be a “mountain person” or a “beach person”?