By: Jana Greene
The Mister and I went for a car ride last Sunday afternoon, deep into wilderness of Pender County, North Carolina. I was grumpy and fretful with the busy thoughts, and he doesn’t seem to mind being in an enclosed area with me when I’m like that, God bless him.
So, off we went with a half-tank of gas and our trusty camera.
The further we drive away from named communities with neat, rowed housing, the more interesting the scenery. My mind slips slowly out of busy-ness and eventually relaxes somewhere between the first blueberry field and the fifth “No Trespassing” sign. By the time we get to the old river roads, find something to worry about becomes find something beautiful.
Beauty is everywhere.
Pender County is locally famous for being a filming site for the Discovery Channel show, Swamp Loggers. The Cape Fear River winds black and lazy through the land, in such a vascular way that the ground never feels quite solid enough to walk on. Water, water everywhere, and everywhere you sink.
On the river, it seems that everything in sight was, is or will be some shade of green in its existence. Animal, mineral, vegetable…covered in either water or algae or moss, and wild.
We stop at a “boat access”, although it is only wide enough to put in a John boat, or a couple of kayaks. I take pictures of a family of ducks, an old hollow stump and some moss in a tree.
We get back in the car and ride around for several minutes without saying a word. I see a bunch of insanely yellow flowers blooming by the roadside and stop to capture the visual Prozac on film. Later that day, we snap photos of a tree that seems to have a goiter in its trunk, and a random puppy flopping through some tall grass with his family at another boat access. Anything anomalous, anything strange and wonderful……*click*. The transmission has completely slipped at the crossroads of my grumpiness and fret, like a rusty old pickup truck resting like sculpture in a field by the riverside.
But, it is also the quiet that disarms me most there; humid, comforting silence. Quiet from modern life…quiet from myself.
I don’t have a lot of that in my mind. I’ve always been a worrier, and although I know it is the least useful (and faithful) venue for my brain to seek out, it knows the way so well it sometimes gets there before me. Half of the battle is getting out from the worn ruts. Driving into the swampy country in Pender County, North Carolina is like taking my spirit off-roading in the best way possible.
Find something beautiful.
Beauty is everywhere, messy and wild.
Wet and green.