Today, June 14th, is my birthday. Thirty-nine years ago today, a little bundle arrived for my Mom and Dad to figure out what to do with and how to try and keep it happy. They did a great job, and I’m still happy and at times still a bundle. . . . ha . . . but now for Wes to take care of! I’ve been blessed to have made many happy memories with my family and friends so far in my life and continue to enjoy each new day as it comes my way. For my first birthday, my parents got me my own cake and so started my love affair with “icing cake”. I still enjoy eating my cake in this same manner, especially if it’s chocolate. I also was fortunate in having the opportunity to take ballet and tap classes for many years as a young girl. This was a great joy and I still have all of my tutus and precious ballet costumes, as well as my ballet and tap shoes to this day.
My late Granny, my Mom and I are all June babies, so it seemed quite appropriate and special that a wild orchid that my Granny and I found in the woods in Florida one day, about nine years ago, bloomed this past week. The first beautiful bloom opened the day after my Mom’s birthday and the second one opened on my Granny’s birthday. A special tribute for two very special ladies, so I thought I’d share a photo as it’s quite stunning at only an inch in diameter!
We enjoyed a wonderful picnic in the Cades Cove picnic area with our two very dear neighbor friends Beverly and Avery Collins. Not only are they loads of fun to be with but Beverly is also an awesome cook and makes everyone’s tummies and taste buds very happy! She graciously provided the lunch consisting of delicious sandwiches, an assortment of fresh fruits and totally yummy homemade, dark chocolate cookies!! Wes and I did our best to make sure she didn’t have to worry about leftovers, as it was the least we could do!
This year is the 75th Anniversary for the Great Smoky Mountain National Park. To celebrate this milestone, several special events have been planned for this year, in the park. Yesterday, after our yummy picnic, we were happy to be one of the people to have acquired tickets for a concert in Cades Cove by the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra. What a fabulous event it was and the National Park Service is certainly to be commended for such a great job done running this event so smoothly, as they were dealing with quite a number of people.
There could not have been a more beautiful setting for the concert than in one of the beautiful Cades Cove fields in the Smokies! We arrived in time to acquire a most wonderful spot smack down front and to the side a bit. There was no one between the four of us and the stage, so it was almost as if we were enjoying a private concert, forgetting the other thousands of people that were also there enjoying this wonderful event. As the music played, it appeared as if the clouds above were dancing and keeping time, as well as the occasional butterfly that would flutter by, with its wings appearing to have perfect timing. At one point I decided to go up front and sit about 15 feet from the stage with a few other people there taking photos. I found this to be a great idea, as it sounded like I was on stage in the middle of all of these talented musicians. The last song I enjoyed in this close proximity was “Amazing Grace” which is one of my all time favorites. They begin it with only the violinists playing, making it sound like bagpipes. It was quite a hallowing and beautiful sound as it carried through the mountains, and I felt so very blessed to have been able to experience it in this way. They performed a melody of songs from the Sound of Music, with the words “the hills are alive . . . with the sound of music” being most appropriate in our mountain setting! To top it all off, on the drive out of the Cove, we saw two Black Bears and also enjoyed watching as a mommy White-Tailed Deer and her very young fawn crossed the road directly in front of us! An ultimate uplifting of the spirits was achieved from this amazing experience by all.
For my birthday we hiked to Upper Meigs Falls, and enjoyed a picnic there. It was a lovely walk with several of the Rhododendrons in bloom, and the moss in full splendor after the rain we’ve received. I lost count of the many times the soft mounds of moss begged for me to pet it along the way. Even the lichen called British Soldier Moss, due to the small red blooms on top that resemble a soldier’s cap, felt nice and soft to the touch. Needless to say, it takes a bit longer to travel with this habit. The falls were beautiful and just as we got there the sun came out and spotlighted it in full splendor. We enjoyed eating our lunch there and I myself enjoyed walking and playing in the water since I was wearing what I call my “all terrain sandals”. The soothing effect of cooled feet makes for a most pleasant hike. On the way back we took photos of the most unusual and gorgeous Fungi blooms. Another wonderful hiking experience was added to the memory banks!
We returned home in time to have a wonderful dinner and Moose Tracks (chocolate with big chunks of chocolate in it) ice cream with friends. A wonderful end to a wonderful birthday!
Until next time ~ Rachelle 🙂