Sometimes when you have a lot on your mind it is refreshing to get away to someplace peaceful to think -or not think as the case may be.
Last Sunday we did just that. The past two weeks have been spent running from one hospital to another. Hospitals are not fun places to have to hang out so- when Sunday came along we decided to drive up to Hikosan mountain-one of my most favorite places around these parts.
The drive up takes you through a narrow little valley that winds up into the mountains running from Fukuoka prefecture into Oita. Several rivers run through the valley criss-crossing, narrowing and widening as they forge their way through.
Some of this area was hit hard about three weeks ago when we had such heavy rains. This home was gutted by the river as it quickly crested and overtook its banks. We passed by several homes that had been destroyed or badly damaged.
We could see that there was still much debris to be cleared out and hauled away. The river bed was piled with logs, pieces of furniture and other objects all tangled up into heaps. Huge triangular concrete breakers had been thrown about like Lego. It was just a real mess for several miles. We talked about how much effort was needed to try and get things cleaned up and the river bed made safe again.
We wondered if it could be done before the next big storm. As I write this there is a strong typhoon headed our way-Typhoon Noru.
It was sobering to drive through the area. My husband commented on how terrified people must have been at the sound! I never thought of that until that moment. Can you imagine having your home right there near the river and hearing the roar and ear-splitting explosion like sounds of tons of rock, wood and debris come crashing through? With water everywhere evacuation must have been a nightmare.
We fell silent as we drove on past and began to climb higher into the thickness of cedar and bamboo forests. I know that both of us were thinking about the past two weeks and what the future may hold for us. Driving through there was such an awesome example that despite the storms of life, we needn’t worry. Everything passes and in the end it will be alright. The sun will shine again.
I was surprised to see that autumn was silently announcing its arrival on the tips of momiji trees. Momiji are the famed and beautiful Japanese maple trees that paint Japan in autumn brilliance. This is higher elevation and is much cooler than the valley floor below. But still…it seemed early for the trees to be tinged in orange already.
Nearing the “top”, which isn’t really the top of the mountain just the place where the cafe is located, the scenery becomes spectacular.
We just love this little cafe. It’s perfect. Perfect for us anyhow. There are never really many people there when we stop by which is usually on a Sunday afternoon. I’m sure they have traffic here and there but Sunday afternoon is when folks are on the mountain. This is a hiking area. People come by bus from other prefectures and areas around Japan to hike the famous Hikosan mountain. I have hiked it before-spectacular! Tough hike though.
In the hiking areas you’ll notice stands like this filled with “sticks”. These are hiking sticks you can borrow if you don’t happen to have one.
Back to the coffee shop-
Such a wonderful little place. Great coffee and lovely desserts. They also have lunch items on their menu. They don’t offer a lot of variety but we don’t go there for the food. We love it because of the atmosphere.
The owner told us that there are several amateur photography groups that visit and have coffee. She showed us a couple of albums that had been given to her as gifts-awesome photos. The group that gave her the album just happened to be from our little town.
We enjoyed coffee and a sweet treat- set against the backdrop of such a serene setting and talked about what things the future might hold.
As I said before it seems that soon our lives will change as we move into the role of caretakers for elderly and ailing parents. This was something we always knew would happen and accept these coming changes joyfully.
I think my husband was concerned about how felt about it. It’s a huge life change and will require much. It will require letting go of many of our earthly possessions as the home we will possibly be moving into just does not have room for much “stuff”.
Honestly-stuff doesn’t matter much to me. I have heard folks mention that they “just couldn’t” part with things they have gathered over the course of 30 years or so. Frankly, I can’t wrap my head around being so attached to material things. I’ve never been a person that cares much for material possessions because I see them for what they are. Many times they just get in the way of living life to the fullest.
It’s just stuff. In the end it won’t mean anything. Where your heart is -there your treasure will be.
What I really value are relationships and this is what will be strengthened and nurtured as we make decisions about the future.
Monday is the big day. Mother in law has her surgery. Cancer is mean-it takes no pity on an old woman. This particular cancer is aggressive but she wanted to fight so-we said-we will all stand behind you. We aren’t sure what the outcome of the surgery will be but I am praying for the best.
We are holding father-in-law up also as he battles Parkinson’s and tries to comfort the wife he loves.
This is life. This is how it goes.
The thing that I am most thankful for right at this moment is the peace I have in knowing that no matter which way things go for us personally- it will be okay.