Between Two Gaps

I ran away from home today.

I’ll go back, of course, but this is what my husband and I call my semi-annual jaunts to the mountains. If you see him, give him a pat on the head and ask him how the salad tasted.

Tomorrow I’m meeting a friend and we’re hiking about seven miles between two gaps on the Appalachian Trail. (And, praise Jesus, I can finally write about literal gaps in the road to match this blog! Such great serendipity!)

I have never hiked this particular section, beyond a half-mile or so. It does carry nostalgia. About this time 16 years ago, my father and I came up here for a little vacation. During dinner the first night, I sprang on him the news that I wanted to go to seminary the following fall. In classic Hugh fashion, he listened intently, and said things like, “Hmm.”

The next day, we headed north on the A.T. from Neel’s Gap. It happened to be a Sunday. On the way up the mountain, he told me to pick up a rock; and he did the same. On the way back, he instructed me to stop at this odd-looking tree. Though puzzled, I did.

He said he wanted to have a little worship service, being Sunday and all. We each placed the rocks at the base of the tree. Then he started reciting the familiar verse from the Book of Ruth: “Where you go, I will go. .. your people shall be my people.” Daddy was giving me his blessing. I cannot tell you how powerful that was, father to daughter.

So this is a gift I always have with me. I look forward to searching out the tree tomorrow with my friend. Surely the same rocks remain, though aged.

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