Take some time out for the rocks and soul

Gaylord Guenin

At the outset, let me assure you that what follows is not some lame attempt on my part at proselytizing. No, I am not going to try to convert you to animism, although I suspect we all might be better off if we believed that natural objects and phenomena had souls. I’m not an animist, although I have teetered on the brink of becoming one, but I must confess that I have a certain fascination with particular rocks, especially some that I pass on a daily basis driving from Lenado to Woody Creek and back. My attraction is not limited only to rocks. There is an abundance of natural phenomena along my road that offers various levels of pleasure and, perhaps, just a touch of therapy for the soul.There is no need for any of you to make an effort to connect with your inner rock and then rush off on some New Age quest for Atlantis. This is more about reconnecting with some of the reasons that made you fall in love with this valley in the first place. It is my humble belief that the majority of us might benefit if we were to turn off our cell phones, ease off the gas pedal and just take a look around. This is a glorious place, even if the trophy homes are challenging nature for domination.My advice might not be suited for those driving Highway 82 on a regular basis, where it is a bit dangerous to take your eyes off the road in order to soak in any of the local vistas. Although it might be safer to enjoy the scenery while you are rushing about at 20 miles per hour over the speed limit than to babble with a friend on your cell phone and reach for your cup of coffee at the same time. Multitasking may be a good thing, except when you are behind the wheel on Highway 82.So it is back to my road, Woody Creek Road, a secondary road if ever there was one. It is 8.5 miles, approximately, from the intersection of Woody Creek Road and Upper River Road to my cabin. There is slightly more than four miles of paved road, and then it becomes dirt until the end of the line, which is somewhere up in the Kobey Park area, miles above my place. It is my guess that many newcomers probably find the drive rather tedious, as it is not filled with spectacular sights like giant waterfalls and geysers and such. For me, however, it is a drive through an ever-changing and yet comfortably familiar art exhibit.And it all begins with my rather questionable love affair with rocks. Near the beginning of my drive (from the bottom up) there is a large boulder, half of which is dressed in a graceful design of yellow and red lichen. I am forced to slow and honor it each time I pass. I can’t tell you precisely where it is, fearing that you might spend too much time looking and sap some of its energy. But if your cell phone is off and you are driving at a cautious speed, you don’t have to be all that attentive to spot it. It is obviously a strong and proud rock, one that is well aware of its place in the scheme of things. I guess it also is a bit vain, as it presents a slightly different face on a daily basis, depending on the weather and the light. This is just between you and me, but I must confess that I adore that rock. The point here is that after the briefest encounter with my rock, I always feel uplifted. And it is all so very easy. No hiking boots, no bug sprays – just slow down, take a look and enjoy. Give it a try: “Adopt a Rock” and see if it doesn’t improve your outlook on life. There are other rocks along my road, a rock outcropping in one case, that have my attention and admiration, but my appreciation of where I live does not end with rocks. Six little streams flow into Woody Creek along the 8.5 miles that I drive, and most are barely noticeable as you pass by. These are not the great, cascading waterfalls you might find in Yosemite National Park; these are Lilliputian rivulets, diminutive streams that may or may not carry water throughout the summer but can be marvelously inviting when they do. Without question the most enchanting of all is Casaday Creek where it exists at the Dancing Bear Farm and goes under the road before diving into Woody Creek. In its final few feet, it cascades over a series of tiny waterfalls. This could be something out of a Japanese print, and if you sit and watch it just briefly, you should feel a lot of stress release from your system. Ea was the god of fresh waters and wisdom in ancient Mesopotamia, and I have the strange feeling he has taken up residence in Casaday Creek. There is more along my road that will soothe the soul and distract the mind from mundane affairs and trivial concerns, but I assume you have already gotten the idea. There are soothing and uplifting sights everywhere in our valley, so there is no need to go out of your way to drive the Woody Creek Road. Just back off a bit from your hectic schedule and take a look around. There was a reason you moved here – maybe it is time to rediscover that and appreciate it once again.This is the 317th article in a two-part series devoted to the community of Woody Creek, a place where tithing is not required to be in good standing with the rock gods.