Last year I packed up the kids and headed to Kentucky for Spring Break. This year, I was going to take them to Nashville to continue the search for my great-great grandfather, but my husband had a better idea.
We rented a cabin in the Smokey Mountains. It was cold and rainy, but even in less than perfect conditions the Smokey Mountains were spectacular.
The soundtrack to Les Misérables played as we drove up winding, narrow yet nicely paved mountain roads to Clingmans Dome, the highest point of the Smokey Mountains, in hopes of seeing three states: West Virginia, North Carolina, and South Carolina.
This is what we saw:
We were a little less than thrilled with the view. After watching the cloud move around us for a few minutes, G wanted to leave the dome, but I noticed that the view had changed to this:
The cloud had thinned enough that we could make out another mountain top in the distance, so I made G wait to see what would happen.
In a matter of seconds, the view had changed to this:
And to this just a couple of seconds later:
And then we saw this!!
In a total of three minutes, the clouds had opened upon this spectacular view, and I broke out in Fantine’s “So different now than what it seemed!” G’s eyes snapped on me, “No, Mom. Just… No.” I can see her point, but in my defense, at that moment, that particular line, taken completely out of context, worked.
It stayed clear for about five minutes, long enough for the lovely young couple standing next to us to have G snap a gazillion pictures of them with their pre-toddler, and then the clouds gathered themselves together to keep it all from us once again.
That evening, I had this wonderful view:
It took me all of ten minutes to fall asleep. It snowed for the next two days, blanketing the mountain in a thin layer of snow. I don’t know if a bad experience can be had in the Smokey Mountains.
I have thought a lot about those eight minutes quite a bit in the week that has followed. What a very real illustration of how circumstances can change given time. Had G and I given up and exited Clingmans Dome mere seconds before, we would have missed a breathtakingly surreal moment. Sometimes things in our lives do not seem to be what we expected. We know it’s there. We just can’t see it. Given a little time, the clouds clear and something beautiful happens. We just have to be willing to wait for it.