Ozone Falls, TN

I haven’t told you about Ozone Falls! It was a place off of Interstate 40 that Scott told me I should check out on my way over to Nashville. It’s right off the highway; however, it’s tucked away in some foliage and sandstone, so it makes you feel like you’re far away from reality. The crazy thing is you can walk directly up to the falls. As in, you are standing at the point where the stream falls 110 feet over the rock into a deep blue, rock-strewn pool. A ‘rugged ¾-mile trail begins along the bluff near the falls and then descends into the gorge passing a small rock house called Gamblers Den. The trail follows Fall Creek to the confluence with Renfro Creek where hikers must backtrack to return to the trailhead’. That sound fancy, but I copied it from a website.

‘Ozone Falls is situated on the eastern edge of the Crab Orchard Mountains on the Cumberland Plateau. Legend has it that the area was named “Ozone” because of the “stimulating quality of the air” created by the mist that is generated after the long plunge of the water. In the 1800’s, grist and sawmills had been built above the falls. The last one was washed over the falls during a spring flood in 1900.’

Haha, that’s kind of hilarious – the stimulating quality of the air, not sawmills being washed over the falls. That’s scary. Sort of like how I was literally laying over the edge of the falls, staring over a hundred feet down to my death.

But that wasn’t the point of this story – to just share the scary-ass part of it. What was crazy was the moment I shared, by myself. I lay there, shaking with anxiety, and I forced myself to lay upon the sandstone, with it’s slightly downwards tilt, and stare out over the falls. The water was falling over the rocks about an arms length away from me, on my left. And I was part of the landscape; it was almost impossible to believe that I wasn’t going to slide right off the cliff like the water was, and it took all my strength to force myself to stay there for a while.

It seemed like minutes, but it was probably about 45 seconds before I allowed myself to move away from the edge. The way I saw it, who knew when I was going to have an opportunity like that again – to be hanging on a precipice, safe but somehow in such an extreme position, completely alone, and enveloped by the landscape.

It was basically a spiritual experience. And it rocked. 🙂

Last Evening in Ellijay

It’s two in the morning, and I’m far too tired for this (after two hours on the phone with Jason!), but I’m annoyed at myself that I haven’t blogged more lately. I’ve certainly had the time – sitting here, relaxing in the beautiful mountains. However, I have been lame and puttered away my evening hours rather than writing marvelous works of literary nonfiction.

The last few days have been delightful. Needless to say, my entire stay here in Ellijay has been heaven. Lisa and Doug are ridiculously wonderful people, and I couldn’t be happier here with them. I am completely at peace, and have spent more time talking about things that matter, and laughing, than I have in years.

This evening I looked in the mirror, and saw myself. It only lasted about 10 seconds or so, but there I was. I haven’t had that experience much in the past year – usually I see a stranger, and it saddens (often frightens) me, but today I glanced up, and there I was. And I smiled in a way I haven’t smiled in months, and I wanted to run outside and hug a tree.

Much like the way LISA hugged a tree yesterday at Amicalola Falls (okay fine I hugged the tree, too, I was just trying to implicate her). It was a gorgeous park, and we hiked up the 164 steps, and took lovely pictures, and all we needed was a picnic and a puppy and the world would have been perfect. 🙂

Afterwards, we headed over to Dahlonega, which was the location of the first gold rush here in Georgia. It was a quaint little place, and we went into the stores and looked at all the knickknacks, and Doug was our knave and carried our water bottles, and life was basically beautiful for the entire day. AND I bought myself a cowboy hat! And, yes, I am as happy about that as that exclamation point implies. 🙂

So tomorrow I’m hitting the road again – this time will be the hardest it’s been for me to leave a place. I could honestly stay here for the rest of my life, and be happy, but I know there is a whole entire world out there for me to see, and I’m looking forward to continuing this beautiful journey. I’ll have to make sure to keep in touch with Lisa, because her words remind me of all the peaceful, soulful things inside me, and our beliefs and dreams line up so well. I’ve never been more inspired to continue being myself, and to pursue all the things that my soul whispers for me to do.

Tomorrow is Tennessee. People have really rallied to my aid, and I have two people in Knoxville willing to take me in, and a writer in Nashville waiting for me on Thursday. I’m looking forward, now that I am well rested and rejuvenated, to meeting new people and feeling that feeling of randomness again. As much as I love security and comfort, it’s a great experience to push myself further, stretch myself into new realms. Much like the yin and the yang that I was talking with Lisa about the other day – that delicate balance between pleasure and pain. That point where one is stretching past the point of comfort, but at the same time feeling a beautiful balance and one-ness with the body, and the earth.

Oh goodness, I almost forgot to mention. This morning (which for me was the middle of the night) at 6 AM, the fire alarm went off, and I was shocked out of sleep. Simultaneously, strangely enough, a huge thunder and lightning storm was happening outside, so it seemed as thought my entire world was in chaos. I was completely confused, but after checking in with Lisa that everything was all right, I returned to my bedroom and proceeded to pull up all the shades and let the outside into the inside. There are six large windows in the room, so it felt like I was in the middle of the storm, and it was amazing to sit there with the lightning flashing and the thunder booming. I tried to pinpoint the place on my body where I felt the thunder (yes these are the types of things I’ve been doing) and I discovered that the thunder resonated deeply within my ribcage, spanning across my abdomen. It was powerful and wonderful, and completely thrilling. I stayed awake with Panda for as long as my eyes could manage, until I fell back asleep, the sound of deep rumbling in my ears.

‘Tis enough for now, I must rest. Tomorrow is a big day, and I need to be prepared for driving through the Smokey Mountain National Park and checking out the ridiculousness that is Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge. 🙂