The Dixie Belle
The view from our window at sunset
The "doorknob" and lock to our room
Our simple room (notice the rabbit ears on the TV)
The dry stacked limestone fences that I love
Part of the village
The landing for the riverboat ride (original Shaker barn, and note the bridge on the left side)
My husband and me on the Dixie Belle, our riverboat
The riverbank, made of limestone
My husband in our simple room
The gravel path that I loved
The building where we stayed on the second floor
The barn and garden across from our building
Beautiful red shed with an old wagon on a gorgeous little lane.
We made it back today. All went well with our trip to Kentucky, or as I call it, "a little bit of heaven on earth." I was hoping for a spiritual renewal. I need those often. I just knew that with the beautiful scenery surrounding me, that I would be refreshed, rejuvenated, and ready to face anything. Being alone in nature is frequently where I really "find" God.
I know God is everywhere, but somehow the kind of presence I was expecting just wasn't there. After a very short time, usually by the time we arrive, my mind is already relaxed. Not this time. I don't think my mind ever truly got quiet the entire trip.
Don't get me wrong. We had a great time. We got to spend time together, just us. No kids. We walked around Bardstown, our favorite destination. We went to open houses. We saw a movie. A new one. In a theater. That wasn't rated "G." I knitted just a bit. We had no schedule, except for breakfast reservations in Shaker Village, where we stayed. It was wonderful.
I marveled at the beauty around me, as Kentucky countryside stretched around us as far as I could see. I longed for a simpler life as I looked at the stark simplicity of our room. I envisioned myself enjoying the quiet ease of daily walks down a tree-lined gravel path. I watched in awe as the Palisades rose around me on a river boat ride, sometimes as exposed limestone faces lining the riverbanks, others hidden in summer foliage. I closed my eyes and felt the breeze on my face, and the warmth of the sun on my skin. I listened to the sheep bleat, and laughed as they seemed to watch us walking along the fence. I smelled the chicken coop, and walked fearlessly beside the turkeys. I saw the hole the bull knocked in the stacked stone wall. I felt sadness every time we crossed a dry creek bed, for the drought has hit them harder than it has even us.
I witnessed the hand of God all around me, but my mind never found rest. Maybe it was the unease I felt at the setting. Though breathtakingly beautiful, I could never forget the almost cult-ness of those who walked the gravel paths before me. I couldn't forget that although they called themselves Christians, they didn't believe in the Trinity. That they were a celibate community who separated even husbands from wives, parents from children. Who seemingly picked passages from the Bible that fit what they believed, and apparently disregarded the rest.
Maybe that was it. I know that God isn't found simply in a place. He doesn't reside solely in the tabernacle anymore. I was just hoping to encounter Him more than I did.