I decided that this weekend would be a retreat. It had been 8 years since my last visit to this particular area of Texas. That trip was life changing. I’m not sure why I waited so long to go back. I was also not sure why now I felt such an overwhelming need to go back to visit this place at this time. But something tugged at me, and said go.
I’m extremely happy with my life these days, I have a wide circle of friends, so many people who love me, and a job that feels perfect for me. I get the opportunity to travel, I still manage to find ways to connect with friends, and to dance a bit when I am home. Eight years ago, I was searching for something, and in looking back I’m not even sure that I realized I was searching at the time. I buried what I wanted, my needs to make everyone else around me happy.
I came home from that trip 8 years ago, and set a goal to move to Texas in 5 years. It took me 5 1/2 years, but I made it but not without a lot of speedbumps along the way. From that first trip to Texas, there was just something about the place that called to me, that felt like home.
As I made my way to Burnet, I thought quite a bit, about why. Why was I heading here now. What popped into my mind that it was an opportunity to give myself a life booster shot. Not at a point when I was sad and down, but while I was on a high—to keep that high going. I seemed content with that realization, and stopped fretting about what would be in store for me in Burnet. There was a nagging thought, would it be as I remembered? Or with 8 years distance from the experience, was the memory much better than the reality?
I made it to the Canyon of the Eagles around 1:00 in the afternoon. Along the way I had seen small patches of bluebonnets, but not really much to even stop and take a few photos. It was a long ride in the car, about 4 hours with a stop about half way at the Koffee Kup for a wonderful piece of pie. I was able to check in and when I opened the door to the cabin, it was a *WOW* moment. My last visit here had been during the afternoon, and I had stayed for dinner. This time I was actually staying at the Canyon. There were two rocking chairs on the front porch, I was looking forward to some late night rocking and pondering. I dropped my bag, gathered up my camera and set off to explore.
The area had changed a little, there were more cabins I think, a bigger campground, a store, a pool, but none of that really interested me. I found a wicked path through the woods and made my way down to the edge of Lake Buchanan. There next to the water was a huge field of bluebonnets. Finally, this is what I had been waiting for. I pulled out my phone, and my camera, and took photos like the tourist that I was. I could feel the big smile on my face. THIS was what I was hoping to find. So that’s why the Universe had nudged me here…or was it JD?
I wandered around and found the hiking trails I had walked 8 years before. I had no intention of taking a long hike, just a quick walk and then back to the hotel. (Think Gilligan’s Island-3 hour tour at this point.) I followed path number three down to a small landing. There next to the lake was another field of bluebonnets. Oh my, I had to find a way to get down there and take some photos. I passed a group of boyscouts and their scout leader. I nearly had a heart attack when I looked down and saw the snake they were looking at. I HATE SNAKES…they assured me that the snake was dead, but it still gave me the creeps. It didn’t sway me from climbing down for a closer look at the bluebonnets.
A big gathering of bluebonnets has a beautiful scent, a mixture of honeysuckle, lavender and I don’t know what else. I took lots of photos and just enjoyed the view. I decided to jump back on path number 3 and walk a little further. Remember, no water? It was 90 degrees, full sun, and very little shade…and I didn’t have any chapstick for the windy conditions. Still, I had been on this path before it was just a short distance back to the main hiking area. Well, that was my plan anyway.
Trail number 7 veered off to the left, it LOOKED as if it was going to go down by the water. Surely there were more bluebonnets there? Ummm..nope, it did not go to the water. Somehow trail 7 turned into trail 8 then into trail 9. At one point I made a break through the trees to the water and realized I was way out in the middle of this nature preserve. I was breathing heavy, and would stop and try to get some relief from the small patches of shade along the path. I didn’t see any people for quite some time and I started wondering, does path 9 mean that the path is 9 miles long. HOLY CRAP…that’s a long way to walk.
I have in my will that I want my ashes scattered in this area when I die. I started to think that possibly that was not going to be necessary. I would soon collapse from heat exhaustion and the animals of the wild and the vultures and the hawks would drag me to their lair and pick the meat from my bones. Yeah, that sweet tea at the Koffee Kup earlier was trying to get my attention. Good grief, it was starting to become very clear that I was going to have to…PEE OUTSIDE. (My daughters would be very proud of this moment.) So, right there, at the edge of the path I did the deed. I hurried and pulled up my shorts and continued to hike. At this point my feet were hurting, I was hot, I was whining in my head.
Mysteriously the path made another turn and I was on trail 11. I was really becoming a basket case at that point. I came to a fork in the trail and found a bit of shade next to a deer hunting little hut thingy. I dropped to the grass, laid back and looked up at the sky. There were all sorts of hawks flying above me, a breeze and a small tree for cover. I finally started breathing normally and realized how ridiculous this situation had become.
…and for the first time that day I stopped worrying about being in a rush to get to the destination…
I just laid back and enjoyed the feeling of the breeze, watched the bees buzzing above me and listened to the birds. I spent 30 minutes there just *being*. About 10 minutes into this experience I felt tears sliding down the side of my face. They weren’t tears of fear, or of panic, and I wasn’t thinking about the bugs, the ticks, the snakes or the possible poison ivy. I was just *being*. In that moment of being very quiet, and very still quite a few things came into my head. New goals to achieve, and knowing what I have always known, life’s about the journey, not always the end result. It was a 30 minute booster shot.
I struggled to my feet, still stiff and sore, and followed the next set of signs for the trail, as if by magic I was at the crossroads for trail number 3. I was moving slow to be sure, and I had to take a few more breaks in the shade sitting on fallen trees, and rocks. When I was nearly at the end of the trail, a cardinal flew across my path. I stopped, and had to lean against the nearest tree, and I let the tears fall. I took this as a sign that I’m on the right path with my life. It’s a moment that will be with me beyond the next 8 years. It’s not a moment that I think any of us have every day.
I made it back to the room and had a shower, a cool bath, and made reservations for dinner. I ended my day watching the sunset over the lake and savoring the moment. There were so many signs this weekend, that this was the place that I was meant to be. There was lots of time for reflection on the drive down, the drive home and during my time in Burnet. I visited a few of the places from the first trip, and I visited some new places. I’m a much stronger person than the woman who made that trip 8 years ago.
I’m not going to wait 8 years to go back….
P.S. I am going to go back to see if I can find my blog post from that original trip, I kinda sorta remember getting lost that trip too! I saw two cardinals on this trip and each time they brought tears to my eyes.
Your mother is always with you…
She’s the whisper of the leaves
as you walk down the street.
She’s the smell of bleach in
your freshly laundered socks.
She’s the cool hand on your
brow when you’re not well.
Your mother lives inside
your laughter. She’s crystallized
in every tear drop…
She’s the place you came from,
your first home.. She’s the map you
follow with every step that you take.
She’s your first love and your first heart
break….and nothing on earth can separate you.
Not time, Not space…
Not even death….
will ever separate you
from your mother….
You carry her inside of you….