In the south of the Appalachian Mountains, about two hours’ drive north from Atlanta, lies a magical forest. The mountains are becoming higher and steeper than around us in Pennsylvania, the mixed forest is becoming denser, the creeks are faster and larger. A wooden deck on the third floor of the old building served as my balcony. The forested mountain was in front of me, just a few feet away. The bubbly creek was right at the bottom.
One day I was standing on the deck and saw a large, bright orange butterfly down on the grass. As I was watching, the butterfly circled around and flew higher, first crossing what would have been the second floor, then the third and continued to the top of the old spruce tree across. A thought crossed my mind: “Shouldn’t butterflies fly around flowers and bushes?” Another thought immediately came as a response: ”Unless someone told the butterfly she can’t fly higher, she doesn’t know she can’t”. I thanked the Universe for this message. Apparently, just to make sure I‘d learned the lesson, the same event unfolded in front of my eyes the following day; the same bright orange butterfly flying higher and higher until it reached the top of the spruce tree.
I visited a little shop with the gemstones, jewelry, oils and books and at first nothing caught my attention there. On the second or third day, I was browsing it again and my eye caught a beautiful piece of semi-precious stone. Its name was “blue lace agate”. I’ve never seen it before and I love gemstones, making sure to visit those kinds of stores wherever I go. Its color reminded me of forget-me-nots, just a few shades paler, with a subtle lilac undertone. I got three pieces. That day walking along the path in the forest I saw a small butterfly of the same color. “What a place!”- I thought. The pale blue butterfly continued flying around me for the rest of my stay. I would see one or two of them on most of my short walks. I got three more pieces of blue lace agate and on the last day came to the store to pay for it. I enthusiastically told the store owner about my experience. He looked at me, smiling curiously. “Yes, you see these butterflies here occasionally but certainly not all the time”. Well, I was lucky to witness another miracle.
For the last four days it was raining heavily. Already full of energy, the air became even clearer, more powerful in its cleansing effects. The rain was also well timed. Whenever I spent time inside, I could hear thunder and see almost tropical waterfalls; whenever I walked outside it was just a pleasant drizzle. After one powerful meditation towards the end of the week, I was walking around the property. The rain had stopped, it was bright and sunny around noon. I realized I hadn’t taken many pictures, with the exception of the few taken from my deck. I left the Temple of Healing, walked around the fountain, around the Temple of Wisdom and the Temple of Light and crossed to a pedestrian space near the empty parking lot. There were no people around. Suddenly I saw a gorgeous turtle, standing in my direction (I would like to say “walking” but it was standing and perhaps… waiting?). It was the most beautiful turtle I’d ever seen. On the dark brown shell there were golden ornaments; friends I’ve shown the pictures to interpreted them as Hebrew letters but my husband thinks they look more like Egyptian hieroglyphs. I squatted next to the turtle and thanked him for coming to greet me. Typically small turtles are afraid of people and would pull their heads under the shell. This turtle (I kind of knew his name was Jon, short for Jonathan) was full out: head, legs and a small tail. I told him he was gorgeous and asked his permission to take his picture (it didn’t cross my mind to touch him—it would have been awfully disrespectful). He moved his mouth as if saying “I’m here, am I not? Go ahead”. I took pictures from different sides and marveled at his looks for a few minutes before wishing Jon-the-turtle a wonderful day.
On the last day the rain intensified and we heard that many flights out of the area were cancelled or delayed. I thought there was a reasonable chance I would get stuck in Philadelphia if the delays made me miss my connection. With the sounds of thunderstorm and not too optimistic hourly forecast I thought I might even get stuck in Atlanta, but that was okay. I opened a door to my deck and looked at the mountain in front of me. There was a clear line where the mountain ended and the sky began. Suddenly a small bird flew just above the trees. It was unexpected since birds usually fly low in the rain. I thought perhaps it’s a sign that my first flight will take off on time. That was good news. The thought barely passed through my head when a second bird appeared. “Are you saying both planes are on time?”- I asked…well, whomever was orchestrating this scene.
I arrived home safely that night, hoping to retain the magic for as long as possible. Looking at the light show of fireflies over my maple tree, I asked them to send my love to their cousins down in Georgia, and to the magical forest they inhabit.