Balancing Act at Tryon Creek

It’s a daily practice, this re-balancing of life’s delight and anguish, the glory and the suffering. When events of the day get too grim to handle – whether it’s close-to-home conflicts, or tragedies out in the world – I know it’s time to find more delight, more glory, fill up the tank, repeat.

Tryon Creek State Natural Area is one of those places I go back to. It’s close to home, small but with a variety of up and down trails, second-growth trees, over 300 plant species, so many bird (if you can find them in the thicket), and a babbling creek. It’s muddy but navigable in the rainy season and shady and cool in the heat. If you’ve been our guest we’ve probably taken you there. But our favorite reason to go every spring is to catch sight of the first Pacific trilliums of the year, a harbinger of spring, as delightful as that first robin (it’s even sometimes called “Wake Robin”).

I’m sharing photos of our peaceful walk here on the blog, but as usual, my husband’s pictures are lovely/lovelier, and there’s plenty of overlap. Sometimes we’re different, though less and less it seems as time passes, but that’s another subject for another day.

I hesitate at times about sharing all these flowers and trees and critter pictures. Is it shouting into an echo chamber, flaunting the wealth of beauty around me, asking people to look at me me me? Do we grow inured to the pictures, seeing so many?

But then I reason, for me it’s about connection, sharing experiences, reaching out. I admire other folks’ trips into their hills, down to their shore, over their fields, around their neighborhood. I love virtual visits to someplace exotic, or places I’ve never been. I like to know what distant places look like at a certain moment in time, and I like that others are also searching out places of beauty, of rest and repose, of rejuvenation. I can get a little peace even at my screen. Photography is an art form, and art is to be shared. So I continue, hoping for connection, an excuse to keep taking pictures of what delights me.

And then of course, I love words, the exchange of ideas, hearing others’ stories, and learning from other people how to manage this balancing act of a “joyful participation in a world of sorrow.” So friend, thank you for joining me. Here’s a piece of my world, may it help take you out of suffering, and bring you delight, even for just a moment.

My favorite moment of our hike was discovering an out of the way bench on a small platform overlooking a ravine full of tall green trees. It will now be my new outdoor writing spot:

Going back here soon!

The Peace of Wild Things

When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

by Wendell Berry

19 thoughts on “Balancing Act at Tryon Creek

  1. It looks like a beautiful place. I’m with you on filling up the tank and going looking for a balance to the hard stuff. Would you believe I have still not seen my first trillium this spring? I’ll surely see it on Seminary Hill this weekend, but I’m surprised it’s taken so long. You are good inspiration for my getting back to the page. Thanks for another wonderful post. (Your photos are fabulous!)

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  2. Pingback: Spring 2022 at the Japanese Garden and Tryon Creek State Natural Area – Discoveries

  3. I love seeing your world through your words and pictures. Art is meant to be shared and you are an artist! Thank you for taking the time to share with all of us!

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    • That sounds like the start of a poem in itself – I love that Wendell Berry poem as much as I like trillium. I like when I trip over it here or there. It seems to come in handy often. Thanks for reading Sharon.

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  4. I’ll never tire of seeing your photos and reading your reflections. The question for me is what season should I come – cherry blossoms, sandhill cranes, hot weather to swim in the river…
    Passover sounds good for now!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Nancy – Your blogs and photos never sound like look at me, me,me. They more than carry me away to beautiful trails I’ve traversed and the memories of all the glorious beauty of truly wild flowers, moss covered rocks and quiet streams. Is there anything better than a still, quiet pond. I think not,or it wouldn’t be in so many sayings of Thich Nhat Hanh. Your photos are a delight and I am particularly in love with the one where on first glance, I thought I saw an alligator. Only a fallen log shaped by wind and water. Lovely. MJ

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    • Thank you so much Mary Jo. As you know, writing can start feeling like an echo chamber. I so appreciate your support. I live in the midst of so much beauty, it’s hard to stop squealing about it all.

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