In Darkness and In Light, The Great Spirit Abides

Enjoying the Divine Creation


Hiking Divinity’s earth

Hand in hand

Pathways to new lands


– George F. Maynard, III (Trey)

Years ago, Trey and I embarked on a hike that had been recommended – Sam’s Knob Summit on the Blue Ridge Parkway.

It was late March and the afternoon was surprising warm for so early in the mountain Spring. The trek soon delivered us to a humble meadow that sat meekly beneath the spectacular mountain we were about to climb and ended abruptly at its base. Long grasses, still brown from the winter blew gently in the light wind and a few courageous wildflowers, defiant in the face of frosts surely left to come, were valiantly making an early show of spotty color.

We made our way across the meadow ascending the 400 feet steadily back and forth among the switchbacks and imagined the wide view of the Blue Ridge Mountains that awaited us. Tricky rocks, thorny winter limbs and devious roots required special attention here and there. The trees were like shrubbery seeming as if they had never decided for sure if they wanted to be tall bushes or stubby trees.

As the ascent grew steeper, the air became cooler and grayer. But engaged in talk and making the grade, we did not notice. At last, we climbed a set of wooden stairs that stretched over a particularly steep and rough decline below and feeling a bit like Harrison Ford in Raiders of the Lost Ark, we put one foot in front of the other until we scaled higher. Shortly thereafter, we reached the rocky pinnacle of Sam’s Knob, which rose 6045 feet above sea level and paused to take in the view we had been promised.

It was not there.

In fact, nothing was there.

A dense gray fog hung heavy erasing any potential panoramic vista view. It was as if dark walls had materialized on the mountaintop with no windows. No trace of the meadow below. No view of the mountains.

We could barely see our hands stretched before our faces as we gazed into the shroud that so thoroughly cloaked the rest of the world.

As it turns out, the Divine had a teachable moment in store for us that day. But it was only part one of the lesson. The second came when we made the same hike a few weeks later.

On that day, our arrival at the top brought us a spectacular view of the Divine creation that was vast and glorious.

We had no idea and still do not of what any given day will bring our way. No matter how dark the future looks or how sunny it begins. The view is eternal, however, whether or not we can actually see it – just as the Divine Spirit is always there with us.

So I thank that Great Spirit, of whom we are all sparks – for reminding us so darkly and so clearly, of the Presence and Assurance that sometimes comes to us as a mysterious and daunting great fog and sometimes as a lightness and vastness unimaginable.

We are not alone.

Kindred Spirits

This blog is shared in honor of Honey’s recent Birthday.  How is it that you entered this world on a windy day in March of 1947 in the hometown of Elvis Presley, followed a number of years later by a girl born in the pine-needled, sandy flatlands of North Carolina, thus beginning a circuitous trajectory that mysteriously began to proceed through crossroads, stop signs, people who unwittingly connected us one with one another, unexpected career turns, several years of platonic and professional acquaintance and finally delivered us here together for the past 12 years?  The very best of my life.

Although life is never easy, with you it has never once failed to be awash with deep, spiritual growth; unfailing love; surprises – both wonderful and challenging and a deep and abiding trust.

The Adventures of Trey and Crissy could fill a number of books.  Consider the annals that Carl Sandburg wrote on Abraham Lincoln. (Okay, so maybe I am stretching it just a tad).  But there was Carl, whose home we love so much in Flat Rock, NC, and his incredible love  for his “Paula” and he wrote her poem after poem to let her know so – as you have done for me – even as you have adapted his quote, “I don’t know where I am going – but I am on my way,” for your very own life.  So ain’t that the truth, Dear One?

We’ve been places and we have seen things we never dreamed of – Budapest dancing off the Danube River on both sides on a cold but glorious Christmas night.  (So that is what Christmas is supposed to be like – Nothing like those delusional  Norman Rockwell holiday paintings that have screwed up so many unsuspecting folks and, subsequently, sent us all flocking to shrinks by the handfuls.)

Kindred Spirit on the beach of North Carolina and the mailbox full of letters on Bird Island where we have spent hours drafting notes to the Divine, thanking Her for our good fortune.

Believe it or or not, if you take a few minutes and go to Kindred Spirit, CBS News , you will find this clip in a news story that was drawn by me. CM and TM (George Maynard III – Trey) 4-ever.  The greatest of these is love.  Imagine our surprise when a friend forwarded the clip to us recognizing our names and my handwriting. 

A restaurant and bar that we found in San Francisco by accident one night and spent hours listening to music and wondering how we found the place.  Watching the holiday bonfires in New Orleans. (Another great example of Christmas as it should be – but, alas, I drift again), along with our wonderful dinners with our dear friends from Greenville whom we seem to see only in the bayou.

Thanksgiving after Thanksgiving with adopted “orphans” like us needing somewhere to go and who fill our home with love and cherish on this most favorite holiday which is all about gratitude. Finding Roberto’s Tavern in Montisi, Italy.  Saying hello to scary surgeries and diagnoses that give us only a whiff now and then of what may or may not come.  Dinners at home alone and out with friends.  Transcendental meditation.  Leaving the church proper in order to find the Spirit Proper.  For Real. Adopting Finlay, our Westie, who needed a home when his Mom was gravely ill.  Reading incessantly.  Exploring and remaining open and curious to the Great Unknown.  And now working together again.  Oh!  A wild and curvy ride it has been.  Road trips.  Long ones.  Walks. Lots of them.  Yoga classes.  Coffee in the mornings.  A toast to another great week.

Once I thought there was a destination.  Marriage, perhaps?  Well, when we got there, it just turned out we are on a journey that keeps on delivering surprises.

Most every day.

And I am glad I don’t know. (Never thought I would say that).

Glad I don’t know about the things unexpected that will make me gasp, “Oh, no.”  Glad to not know about the gifts that will astound me with joy.  Happy for the true and special awakening of just – an ordinary day.  When nothing happens much at all – but time passing together. Happy Birthday, Honey.  You are my Anam Cara – my soul friend.  For ever.