Slowing Down, Reflecting On A Year

The other day I was driving with my brother and his son, Hunter. Hunter is obsessed with his Wii video game. I was asking him what he wanted for Christmas and he has a huge list. One was a video game.My brother stepped in immediately and reminded Hunter that the game he wanted is for 10 year olds. Hunter quipped back that that is only three years away and he really wanted it. My brother reminded Hunter that he didn’t want to grow up too fast.

That thought has eaten at me. Time is short. It creeps by and then is gone in an instant. I have memories that seem like yesterday that happened 20 years ago. I think turning 40 has made me a bit more nostalgic. But lately, I have been taking stock.

I didn’t have to work this morning but woke up early to a flock of birds in my front yard. My dog Bella stayed burrowed under the blankets, and I moved forward with my day. I crept, hazily, to the kitchen to brew my strong pot of Ethiopian blend fair trade coffee. I looked to the back yard.

There was a mist hovering over the trees as squirrels tried to infiltrate our bird feeders. At the bottom of my back yard stood three deer. Seeing them this time of year is unheard of, but there they stood. Peaceful. Tranquil. Beautiful.

Normally, things like this mean very little to me. I am not outdoorsy and sometimes don’t stop to notice the beauty that surrounds us here in West Virginia. They stayed there for about 10 minutes until my annoying neighbor’s dogs caught sight of them, and the symphony of barking began.

As they crept off into the woods, I could not distinguish where they began and ended as they disappeared from view. I stopped to notice the hazel and orange leaves that littered my yard like Mother Nature’s confetti. The hues of the leaves mixed one on top of the other like a deck of cards.

As I stood on my deck, the chill of fall entered my lungs from the cool air. This a true sign of another rafting season has come to a close. It seems like yesterday that we welcomed March with our first rafters. Then the flood of summer guests began and we were in full swing. Certain things stay with me.

I remember Cody and Bill winning the Blob contest on the Fourth of July. Cody was thrilled.

I remember Rita Cassaro visiting me in the office to thank me for another great vacation. She loves our 2 -bedroom Chalets.

I remember Katie and Phil organizing a group and coming for the weekend.

I remember Scott Olive regaling me with stories from his days on the Gauley.

I remember fun days in the office with Chris and Jeannie – 2 new friends that I am grateful for.

The memories are endless. But life is about moving forward. I know many of you reading this have your own special ACE memories. Share them with us. What was the highlight of your trip? What is your best memory? Do you plan to make some memories of your own next year?

One last thing: Take a minute today and look around. To your family. To nature. To life. And enjoy the day.

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