Okay okay, I took a week off but I’m back with another installment of The Weekly Sip. Life got crazy for a couple weeks, but it’s all good now.
Last week, I had a day off from work for Presidents’ Day. We don’t get days off super often, so I took full advantage of my free Monday and spent the afternoon at Wildflower Tea Shop & Apothecary. I walk or drive by this cute place almost daily and only started going there recently. Boy, had I been missing out.
Wildflower is a super cute tea shop with a huge selection of loose-leaf teas: black, green, white, herbal, you name it, Wildflower probably has it. They’re all organic and biodynamic, to boot. In addition to teas, Wildflower also carries herbs, essential oils and locally-made herbal products. They believe in the healing powers of botanicals and want to share it with anyone who stops in.
Green tea is usually my go-to at any cafe, and Wildflower has several green teas to choose from. I usually opt for a personal pot of the jasmine green tea, but the Moroccan mint and citrus teas are both great choices, too. On my day off, I enjoyed my pot of tea while catching up on some other writing and blog-related projects. Sometimes a change of scenery is the key to increased productivity.
On the last Friday of each month, the creative community in Chattanooga gathers for a Creative Mornings meet-up. In fact, there are more than 150 Creative Mornings chapters across the nation and in other countries. These meet-ups welcome creatives–and everyone is creative, according to the CM manifesto–to come together and connect with like-minded people over coffee and breakfast.
Side note, the Chattanooga CM chapter always has delicious donuts that I’ve been told are gluten-free, vegan, organic, all-natural and all that… which means they’re health food, right?
This month’s speaker was a local wine specialist, and he spoke about embracing the moments we have rather than chasing after them, and making the most of the moments we do capture and embrace. He specifically encouraged us to take a moment to listen, a moment to slow down and to be in the moment when it happens. After a couple of particularly stressful weeks, that was something I needed to hear.
Last Friday afternoon, a couple of my coworkers said they were planning a Saturday morning hike to start the weekend. I hadn’t been hiking since the fall and had been itching to go on one of these unseasonably warm weekends, so I told them I’d like to join. When I woke up Saturday morning, though, I wondered if I should stay home, go to my apartment’s gym early and stay in and work for the day. I had a lot on my to-do list, after all. But I remembered how much I’d been wanting to go for a hike for the last few months, and I don’t spend enough time with my lovely coworkers outside of the office (sorry, y’all). I texted the couple of girls who planned the trip and said I’d definitely join. The outside air would do me some good, anyway.
I met them at the trailhead for Rainbow Lake to Edward’s Point on Signal Mountain, one of the more popular hiking trails in the area. From the starting point to the main scenic overlook at Edward’s Point was just over two miles, doable, for sure. We stopped several times along the way to marvel at waterfalls and rock formations, but the view from the point was absolutely worth the hike.
I’m forever amazed at how stunningly beautiful nature is, but this area of Tennessee is certainly blessed with Mother Nature at her finest. Any view of the Tennessee River makes my heart skip a beat. That sounds romantic and cliche, but I won’t deny it. Like any millennial, the first thing I did was take my phone out of my backpack and snap a few pictures (and ask my coworker to take a few of me, too).
As much as I wanted those photos to capture the beauty of that spot, what was more important is the fact that this place exists and God created this special spot in nature. There’s something chilling and sobering about standing on top of a mountain, looking down and seeing the rest of the world below. Sure, it’s not that high up in the grand scheme of things, but it’s higher than I spend most of my days, and that’s enough of a change in perspective. Those breaths of mountain air were just what I needed.
We stayed at the overlook for several minutes before moving on. Before we continued, one of my coworkers said, “It’s amazing to be up here and just take a moment to take it all in, and listen.”
I let my companions gather their backpacks and head back toward the trail, but before I followed, I took one more moment and one more breath of that air. I listened to the wind, the birds, the water. I thanked God for creating it.
It’s easy to take those mountains and that scenery for granted. I drive by Lookout and Signal Mountains every day going to and from work, and I see photos of similar scenes from my friends all the time. I always think, “I’ll get up there eventually, I’ve got plenty of time to plan some hikes.” But do I ever go up as often as I’d like? Of course not. I let the rest of my life get in the way and before I know it, months have passed and no hikes have happened. But if there’s anything that should never be taken for granted, it’s that God has blessed us with scenes and moments like that, and we should embrace them at every opportunity.
Next time you’re given an experience like that: take a breath and take it in. I almost didn’t go hiking. I needed it more than I thought I did.
One last note: check out the Creative Mornings website and see if there’s a chapter in your city. And if there is, go to the next meet-up.
When was the last time you took a moment to listen, to take everything in?