Short Story of a Hike in The Forest

This story takes place in a forest. A forest named during a war. The name of the forest an oxymoron, transpired when a white man was taking land from the Cherokee. The man, a religious man, peered out at the mountains in this forest, and named these lands Pisquah. In history, thousands of years ago, another man , Moses, climbed to the top of a mountain and witnessed a land promised to his nation. This mountain had the same name, Pisquah. 

My husband and I for a brief period in history immersed ourselves into this promised land of the Appalachian mountains, the Pisquah National Forest. We walked, climbed, and enjoyed her beauty. She called us to visit her and we beckoned her call. We prepared for years for this visit not knowing that it would be this particular forest. We read books together, attended classes, and watched movies preparing for this outing. For years we gathered equipment, practiced sleeping with our gear in the backyard, and trained our dogs to sleep under the stars. 

However, God had anther story to tell about this mountain. The night before our trek, spending the day preparing, gathering food, filling our bear vault and backpacks, the tendons in my ankle began to ache in pain. These tendons are the thorn in my flesh that lie dormant and then begin to flare. By Saturday morning, I could not walk. The planning, the anticipation, the joy all for naught. What was I to do? I pleaded with God and continued to pack our gear. Tears filled my eyes and I made the decision to disclose to my husband my fear. His patience and comfort filled me with his words, “let’s just go.?” “Can we pray”, I asked. Our hands intwined we sat at the breakfast table, pleading with God, for a blessing, a miracle. 

The car packed, the dogs in the back, our lunches prepared, we set forth in the car. As we drove my mind filled with fears, consciously I redirected my thoughts to the mantra I learned the last few months, to bring my thoughts closer to God. I refused to think of anything but the mantra, “Maranatha”, in Aramaic “Lord Come” . The time in history, a day in autumn when the leaves change and the crowds filled the parkway to “peep” at the beauty, we pulled in to a spot, already feeling God’s love with a perfect prime space in a parking lot filled with hundreds. I opened the door, the pain was gone. I tightened my laces, the trails were calling, and we never looked back.

The promised land of these hills did not disappoint. Scrambling over rocks, climbing mountains, sleeping in the wild, and gazing at the stars, I thanked my Heavenly father for this miraculous gift. A forest named after a biblical mountain and a nation that learned to rely on God, manifested to my story, a child of God, living thousands of years later, in a distinctly different land, learning the same lesson, to rely on my Heavenly Father.

– by Nichole Fogleman

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