But then. The very next day could be magic. Like the day before yesterday.
This has been a really good week. Garner State Park is lovely. There's not a lot of the wonderful activities they have during the summer, but then, there aren't the crowds they have in the summer, either. Right now, the weather is just cool enough, the wildflowers are blooming like crazy, and peace abounds. It's all good.
But. Wednesday we decided to leave our peaceful little nest and go explore Lost Maples State Natural Area, about 30 or 40 miles away. And, oh my, I don't think I can even describe the wonder, the awe, the beauty, the magnificent artwork of my God that is the drive along TX Ranch Rd 337.
And my piddly little pictures sure don't do it justice.
It was take-your-breath-away beautiful.
But here's a couple of photos anyway, maybe you'll get a little of an idea.
It's a twisty turn-y two lane road through the most beautiful mountains. Around every hairpin curve there's another fantastic view. It was a cloudy, drizzly day, but that just made it more perfect. Everything looked new, fresh, and washed clean.
The valleys were so green. Just lovely.
And the Mountain Laurel! I love Mountain Laurel! Those gorgeous purple flowers against the green leaves. And the scent. Like grape bubble gum. Amazing.
I'm not kidding you one little bit, when I tell you that I was moved to tears by the beauty and wonder.
Then, I cried because I desperately wanted you all to be there with me, so I could share it with you.
Then, I found myself crying for all the people who don't have a chance to travel at all to see such things for themselves.
But mostly, I was just happy - thrilled, really - that I was there to see it all. My heart was full.
Okay, enough of the emotional stuff. On to Lost Maples. More beauty.
Maple Tree. This tree was so perfect. Almost like the "lollipop" trees I drew in kindergarten.
Just perfectly round.
The clown...I mean, the Cowboy.
One of the shorter hiking trails.
Tim took this picture of the tree growing up through a rock.
After our little hike, we were hungry, so we headed to the nearest town, which was Utopia. I've heard of this little town before, but I always thought the name was kind of ironic. Until I saw all the country surrounding it. Utopia, indeed. We found one one restaurant there, Lost Maples Cafe. Luckily, it was very good.
We took a different route home. Maybe this is just my crazy, but when I saw this...
...next to a private driveway, I felt like it was a signature, a personal message to me, telling me that Jesus had arranged this day just for me, and He was glad that I had appreciated it. Pretty crazy, huh.
But, alas, all is not perfect in this Eden. The trees - these magnificent trees - are being killed by some sort of fungus. I don't know what it is, but we saw it all through the hill country...Garner State Park, Uvalde, Lost Maples. We moved to Canyon Lake today, and it's here too. Looks like this -
And this is what it does -
So. This is what I'm telling you. These beautiful places are disappearing. Everything changes. Storms, fires, parasites, people...it's just the way the world is. I'm begging you, really. Get out and see some of the things that God has created for us while you can, if you can. You never know what tomorrow may bring.
Okay, enough of my preaching. Here's one last photo of Lost Maples.
So many shades of green!