Bears Up There or Lions Down Here

I left yesterday afternoon for 6 nights away, dashed to Asheville, stopped at an Ingle’s and bought supplies then drove through the swirling mists of late afternoon to Mt. Mitchell – my Fortress of Solitude though I’m certainly no Superman. The rhododendrum were in perfect bloom and the temp was 30 degrees cooler than Columbia. I got to the peak at 8:45 pm, 15 minutes before closing – ready to unpack, cook some supper, and put on my reading light, crawl into my sleeping bag to read myself to sleep. But… the campground was closed.

I went back down to the ranger station and asked, “What’s up!?” He said that they had several hours earlier shut down the camping area because of BEARS. Several Black Bears had ripped into an occupied tent, no injuries, and two cars – trying to get to food. Therefore, the campground is shut down for the next 9 days. I thought about heading to one of the National Forest roads 5 miles up that you can camp at, but bears could eat my Mini Cooper with too much ease. So I traveled last night up the Blue Ridge Parkway to Crabtree Meadows. I’ve camped and hiked there since college days. It’s not as high in elevation, but the scenery is nice. One problem – it was raining cats and dogs, and I’ve done the put-up-the-tent- in- the- rain deal before. So, with wondering what to do in my heart I went to Spruce Pine and ate at the Burger King, hoping the weather would let up. It got worse and worse. SO… I called Cindy and said, “I’m coming home, it will be late, don’t be frightened.” It rained all the way home until 15 miles from Columbia. I crawled into bed a little after 2 a.m. with a weird afternoon and evening’s journey under my belt. I did get to feel the 58 degree air and see the balsam and douglas firs, the swirls of clouds, and the flowers, but I’m back!
But today it’s been one phone call and email after another and another about either ill or well-intentioned dragons in churches, screwy decisions, and making interpretations about the Book of Discipline. Power and control people have been sharp on my heels all day. Here is where I am right now: I rather be eaten by the bears up there than by the lions down here. What does that mean? If you have ever had to work with people, especially church people – you know. I may just pack up my car and head back up there, though it won’t be the same if it’s not Mt. Mitchell. I know I can still read my Bible, novels, and eat all the junk food I bought sitting comfortably on my sofa and just not go to work. But thanks to having a cell signal here and a computer, the work comes to me. On Mitchell I’m all alone except for God. So, stay tuned, the mountains are still calling and I’d rather be eaten by bears up there than by the lions down here! Ever felt that way?