Tuesday, July 05, 2011

A Pretty Place

There is a place that beckons me. A place where childhood memories and dreams for my future converge. It is solitary. It is breathtaking. It is a Pretty Place.
And I need to return there...soon.

My first memory of A Pretty Place is a trip to visit my grandmother in Brevard, North Carolina when I was a young girl. My parents knew of this spot and I was intrigued by the wooded, winding and twisting road that led us to our destination. Located in the back of a YMCA camp, one would never guess that such a stunning spot existed as we passed cabins, basketball courts and the occasional stray camper on bicycle. But, the moment we pulled up to A Pretty Place for the first time, I knew this would not be the only time I made a trip to this spectacular overlook.

Built in 1941, the Fred W. Symmes Chapel, or "A Pretty Place" as it is more commonly known, was a gift to the boys and girls that attend camp at the YMCA. It is an open-air chapel with primitive wooden bench seating leading down to what is one of the most intimate, yet majestic, views of the Blue Ridge mountains I have ever seen.

Growing up a mountain lover, this spot hooked me from the start. I was drawn to the cross at the front of the chapel and how it seemed so perfectly perched on the rock wall separating the structure from the valley below. The saying on the ceiling above the cross was perfect, too: "I Will Lift Up Mine Eyes Unto the Hills..." So fitting for this sanctuary where religion and nature intertwine.

On each visit, I would sit atop the rock wall and glance out at the breathtaking sight which, strangely enough, had the power to both captivate and frighten me with its immense grandeur. In the fall, the brilliant hues of golds and reds would make the mountainsides appear to be in flame...the sun hitting in angles creating a tapestry of color only possible in nature. In the Spring, the lush green of the hillsides would darken in random shapes as cloud formations would float past the sun. The tranquility I found here was unlike no other place in my travels.

The last time I visited A Pretty Place was my last Easter with Mom...a sunrise service, in fact. I need to visit again. I need to breathe in the mountain air and surrender all my worries and feel completely at peace.

I will return there soon....

1 comment:

Jeanette said...

You are such a wonderful writer. With your written words, I can picture this "Pretty Place" so vividly. It sounds like a very peaceful place and a wonderful place to let ones worries and stresses go.
I enjoyed reading your post.
I hope you are enjoying your Birthday and that your boys are showering you with hugs and kisses.