Hy and I were away for a precious 1 week vacation to the Great Smokey Mountains National Park. We actually camped in the park for couple days. It was nice to get away from it all, no cell phone reception, no internet access for couple days while we camped in the park. I grew up in the city, so, I am totally not a tent girl. I enjoy staying at the 4-5 stars hotels, soft bed, nice design, good smell and super clean rooms. But after dating then married a man who loves nature so much, I learned to appreciate couple nights of simple life in the tent.

We camped at a premium location right next to the river. Hy tried his best to make things comfortable for me: a good looking water proof tent, air filled camping mat with tasteful color, light and warm goose down mummy sleeping bags. It was quite nice sleeping with the sound of nature: river flowing in the background, fresh air flowing through the tent, crickets singing through the night. There was one raining night, but I wasn’t bothered at all. It was dry and warm inside our tent. Listening to the rain, with hot tea in our hand, we chatted through the evening.

It’s funny how my perspective changed through out the trip. When I arrived at the Smokey, to be honest, I was very disappointed. I was looking for full fall color in the park, color of red and golden yellow. The reality was, we came 2 weeks too early!! I was greeted with full park of green! When driving in, I saw only little tiny spots of red and yellow here and there. In addition, on the first day of my trip, there were also surprised unpleasant changes happening at work that made me felt quite sad. For the first couple days, I was concentrating on what I don’t have; the full forest of green plus this sad news from work. I had a lot of time to contemplate about the unexpected events in life. Though there were plenty of joyful moments with Hy, my heart was quite heavy.

My transformation came the last day we leave the Smokey. When driving out of the park, I found I saw a lot more of reds and yellows. I don’t think the color of the park changed so much within couple days. I think what happened was, I started focusing on what was there vs what wasn’t there. I started enjoy more on the few beautiful trees that changed color, vs complaining in my heart about the forest remaining green. I started to treasure what I still have at work, vs, the have nots. Look at this beautiful photo taken by Hy on our last day there. How can I have a complaining heart with this beauty from above?!

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This post is for you, my dear friend and teacher. May your journey ahead fill with wonders and beauty. Thank you for what you’ve provided these years. Looking forward the next time our paths crossed ~

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