It's been a mere three days since I left Mississippi, three days full of excitement, friendship, adventure and drama. The road home is not nearly as smooth or predictable as I had planned, but it is certainly exciting!
Early Sunday morning I headed down to Baton Rouge to visit with my friend, Amy. We met up at Bethany World Prayer Center, where I was able to catch the 11am service. Wow. The diversity of the church is stunning, the music beautiful, and the message poignant and well-delivered. It was a great feeling, being able to sit back and enjoy the service. I definitely appreciated it more, having a good idea of all the work that goes into making a church service work smoothly.
After church, Amy and I headed back to her house, which is located in the backwoods of Louisiana. No joke. It takes about an hour to get to her house from Bethany, down winding, twisting roads lined with trees, meadows, farms and the occasional gas station or convenience store. Along the way, we passed towns with names like "Baker," "Slaughter," and "Zachary." I felt nostalgic the entire drive, like the score to 'Elizabethtown' should have been playing in the background.
Amy's property line is shared with a campground that isn't used anymore. In its heyday, Kueta was a girls' camp with horseback riding, pottery classes, hiking, swimming, games and Bible stories. We had a great time bumming around the camp and looking into the old horse stable, a red structure with bright green ivy trailing down the side. Inside, there were old stables with worn wooden gates and feed sacks scattered over the dusty floor. Amy was able to remember which horse went in each stall when she was a child, back when Kueta was in full swing.
While we were looking around the camp, we got the brilliant idea to hike down to Lost Creek, which was supposed to be less than a mile down a trail. We walked through the deserted camp, pushed our way through waist-high grasses, and searched for the trail. It wasn't there. Not satisfied with the lack of trail, we decided to search for the creek anyway. Luckily, Amy is familiar with the area and knew in what general direction to search. We scrambled over logs, stepped carefully over briars and poison ivy, followed part of an old logging trail, skittered down a hill, and finally came upon a sandy white beach littered with small plants and stones. Lost Creek had finally been found!
Amy and I took our shoes off and waded in the cool water. It felt so good on our hot, sticky ankles and feet. While we were wading, Amy came across a chunk of purple clay that had fallen from the opposite bank. It was so strange to find, sitting in a creek, clay that had the consistency of store-bought modeling clay. We played with it, shaped it, and covered our hands and arms with the clay. As we washed it off the creek turned purple, a sign that the long-deserted creek finally had visitors.
Amy's dad met us on the trek back to her house and gave us a ride on the back of the truck. Since we were fairly drenched with sweat and covered in grass seeds, we gratefully accepted the ride, enjoying the wind that buffeted our faces as we rode down the bumpy, grassy drive. I have never been so thankful for a shower in my life, or so exhilarated and exhausted all at once. We ate the pork chops Amy mom prepared with relish, enjoying each and every bite. Later, as I collapsed into my cool, soft bed , I counted my blessings for the day: a great friend, a memorable adventure, good food, and above all, showers.