Saturday, June 15, 2013

A Moment in Paradise




I don't know how I will manage to write a true picture of my visit to Turtle Island Preserve yesterday to interview "the mountain man" Eustace Conway. It was beautiful and peaceful and like another planet from mine. No one glued to televisions, chatting on phones, playing video games, dashing between cars. No hums of dishwashers, air conditioners, electric devices, loud music. Silence, save for birds chirping all around. Green, and lush, and primal.

It is not easy to reach, down many winding roads, and then a very steep and rather treacherous gravel pathway. Deeper and deeper into a "hollar" nestled in the midst of thick forests and mountains rising like green fortresses on all sides. Signs prohibiting entrance to all but the invited line the entrances. There were no angels with flashing swords like those guarding Eden, otherwise I might have thought I had indeed found The Garden.

I didn't want to leave. My soul longs for the peace and comfort of the simple pleasure of living in such a land. But I know I would be dead in a week. Like most people, I have become dependent on all those appliances and gadgets and modern conveniences. Eustace is a fascinating person, with a message he longs to tell the world, but hates the technology that might reach them. Still, one of his staff members is teaching him about Facebook, and he understands that my first article about him generated enormous interest and support for Turtle Island. His hope is to meld the best of both worlds, his and ours. My fear is that melding has a way of removing the unique flavor of one by other overpowering influences. Corruption can creep in and spread insidiously.

God knows that, of course. It is why we are told to flee from sin, to take every thought captive to holiness and righteousness. The Garden of Eden was hard to keep inviolable, and our nature is not of purity, much as we all may long for that.

As I thanked Eustace for showing me his beautiful world, he shook my hand and then Asherel's and said, "Please come again. Spend the day helping us here, and then we could go for a ride." He looked at Asherel, "Would you like to go riding with us here?"
She nodded and smiled.
"I would love that!" I told him, knowing he would not have invited us unless he meant it. And then reluctantly, Asherel and I started back up the shady path meandering through the thick forest back to the car.

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"....leap like a stag on delectable mountains."
Song of Solomon 2:17

Honor and majesty are before him: Strength and beauty are in his sanctuary. (Psalm 96:6 ASV)







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