Monday, October 3, 2011

Outrageous October

Roaring Fork Motor Trail - GSMNP
October 1, 2011

Please make a note to remind me (scold me??) next August when Mr. B returns to school and I enter the summer doldrums (depression??) that October is just around the corner.  I felt the subtle change in attitude a couple of weeks ago when our temperatures broke for the first time and hints of fall began showing up.  But late last week, fall truly arrived in East TN and the happy girl Mr. B lives with IS BACK!!  I am not a summer person.  I cannot stand high heat and humidity is even worse.  Unfortunately, the older I get, the less tolerant I become.  And come on people, you can put on more clothes when you are cold, but there are only so many you can take off when you are burning up.  LOL!

As September came to a close, I began anticipating what October might bring and since it rolled in on a Saturday, I told Mr. B we needed to celebrate with an adventure.  It was while in the midst of that adventure that October's theme was born.  From the safety of our car and the advantage of being on a secluded one-way motor trail just outside of Gatlinburg, TN very early in the morning, we watched the adorable black bear family in today's picture play for over half an hour.  It was only us and one other vehicle who respected their space in the same way that we did.  At one point, the mama and one of the cubs danced by our car so close to my window, I could've easily reached out and petted them.  We're talking inches.  I said to Mr. B, "this is OUTRAGEOUS, I've never been this close to a black bear."  And there it was - OUTRAGEOUS OCTOBER!  Almost immediately, I had the idea of challenging myself this month to do something each day that I've NEVER done before.  Now I'm not talking about anything totally outrageous (you should've seen the look in Mr. B's eyes when I told him of my idea), it could be something very simple.  The whole idea is to force myself to move slowly and deliberately enough through each day to recognize an opportunity to do something unique and different.  I will be accountable to you by telling you what I've done each time I post.  Now doesn't that sound like fun?  You could do it too!!!!

I cannot resist sharing these next four pictures with you.  I apologize for the darkness - it was very early in the morning.  This mama bear was having the time of her life giving herself a back massage on this National Park Service sign.  I wish you could've heard the moans of pleasure..................
(Click on the pictures to enlarge them)
 Look at that left paw up over her shoulder holding on to the sign and that left hind leg stuck straight out....................

 Oh my, that feels soooooooooooo good!

 Let's make sure the lower back and butt get properly massaged!'s over, folks!

I so hope the pictures are clear enough for you to at least get an idea.  We laughed until tears were running down both our faces.  But on the other hand, we were in total awe at the utter vulnerability of such a magnificent creature.  Her "massage" probably last five or six minutes - her two cubs played about eight feet away in total contentment.   Oh, that we could all live with such a spirit of freedom without the need to change our behavior based on whether or not anyone is watching! 

Thirteen weeks from yesterday, we move right out of 2011 into 2012.  Let's make every moment, every day, every encounter, every relationship COUNT because friends, we'll never have these days back again, nor will we able to get back glorious opportunities we might have missed because we failed to open our eyes, look around and find something DIFFERENT to experience.  It doesn't have to take much time - just a bit of thinking outside the box.  


October 1 - Ate a Corrol apple that I bought at Carver's Apple Orchard.  I had never tasted this variety before and have been unable to find out much about them.  They were grown at Carver's and are a late September/early October variety.  Crunchy and sweet!  Yummy!

October 2 - Stepped out of my comfort zone at church this morning and introduced myself to four different people whom I'd never met.  Singing in the choir, it is easy to hide away in the choir room and interact only with other choir members.  After the service, I decided rather than running directly back to the choir room, I'd walk out into the sanctuary and roam around until I found at least two people I'd never met.  I got lucky pretty quickly and found four.  Actually, five if you count the 10-week old baby one of the couples was toting around! 

Just wait till you see what's in store this week AND next week!

FYI - If you are reading this early on Monday morning, I will already be hiking in the woods with my usual hiking bud.  I seem to be a bear magnet right now, so I'd appreciate any thoughts sent our way that today, we do NOT encounter any wildlife of ANY kind unless it's of the chipmunk, deer or bird variety!  We want to see beautiful red, yellow and golden leaves.  Enough already with the bears!!


  1. Now I want to see bears too! Be safe on your adventures!

  2. Wow, every day! That is quite a goal. Not sure I could come up with that many ideas.

  3. What a fun idea for the month! Maybe one of these days I'll get motivated (and stay healthy enough) to do something original for an entire month.

    Sharon, my apologies about thinking you were the North Carolina person who won the lottery -- you're a Tennessee gal! Don't know what I was thinking.

    Very cool bear photos. I only have one wildlife encounter photo from the past year of a big turtle but it's on my Ipod and I don't know how to get it to transfer to my computer

  4. It is funny to hear you write about summer. That is how I feel about our winters here in MN. Quite depressing. However, fall is here right now and we are having an AMAZING one. And I am happy and content and enjoying it! It will be exciting to read about your daily challenges. I am not good at stepping out of my comport zone, but sometimes God pushes us out and the results are fantastic. Good Lucky

  5. Stepping outside the box: great, great idea.

    Yesterday, I had the pleasure of attending the Lynx B-ball with my grandbabies and hubby. The eldest is very shy, but an avid B-ball fan. We were watching the team warm up when all of a sudden two Lynx personnel were coming toward us. They asked if any of the kids wanted to be kid captains. I was SHOCKED that Nani agreed to do this very public honor. She stepped outside of her box and now reveals in the delight of meeting one of her favorite players. I know she will remember this for a long time. It will also give me something tangible to gently remind her of the benefits of stepping out of our comfort zone. She is 8. Onward and out of the box!

    Great post. Enjoy your hikes! Michele

  6. I consider it a spiritual experience when I'm lucky enough to come into close (and safe) contact with wild animals. I had that experience when witnessing the loggerhead turtles all around us while on vacation. It changed me, somehow. Here are these creatures, going about their daily business of survival, taking joy in the moment and living in the now - and most people easily forget that 'now' is all we have, too. It's a beautiful reminder. I'm so glad you were able to experience something magical.
    As for your own comfort zone challenge month - I wish you all the best! I'm a little too chicken to do something different every day, so I admire your gusto!!

  7. Enough already with the bears!!--laughing about that! I agree, although I would love to see some from the safety of the car! Who was I reading who saw a mom and babies, but people were getting out of their car and walking up to them???

    Anyway, thanks for sharing the pics and that experience! And you go on that outrageous stuff--I'll be watching from the sidelines LOL.

  8. How cool to see a bear! From a safe vantage point, let's say as well :D

  9. Hi! I love apples this time of the year! We had a raccoon sitting on our porch today!

    :-) Marion

  10. I would freak out if I saw a bear! Stay safe.

  11. Wow that was super up close with the bears!

    I love how happy you sound and what a wonderful Fall you are having.

    I too am a fair weather gal!