This last weekend was a wonderful change of pace, breaking up what was beginning to feel like a whirlwind with a glorious 48 hours of whatever felt right at the time. As my Dad had come into town just beforehand, it served as the perfect reason to slow down.

Saturday I went target shooting at the range for the first time in forever and did far better than expected. Once or twice I caught myself wondering what time it was, but I let it slide from mind and continued on indifferent to the hands on the clock.

Later that day I got into making walking sticks with my dad, taking time as we sanded each one to a beautiful touch. I found myself totally absorbed in it, tunnel-visioned on sanding to the perfect smoothness. Every time it almost seemed right, there was another little spot that needed that loving caress.

Sunday was an outdoors day, and would prove to be the perfect answer to my “get pictures of nature” itch. Originally we’d planned to visit Pilot Mountain, but opted for Hanging Rock sort of last minute on the drive. Terri and I have been there several times, but there are so many trails that there was still a lot to see. Great pictures, by the way, many of which I plan to share this week after I’ve sifted through them. A couple in particular I was excited to get, going off trail and doing a bit of climbing/maneuvering. Hey — if you want the shot no one else has you have to go where no one else does, right?

On the hike back to the parking lot we encountered a group carrying a wagon load of supplies. Well, I guess I should say two guys carrying a wagon obvious unfit for stone stairs and steep slopes, sweating profusely in the humid 90 degree weather while their groupmates forged on ahead. We tried warning them that the stairs and such got even rougher ahead, and there were some spots that would be downright ridiculous to be carrying a wagon. “We’ve been okay this far,” he replied, “might as well keep going.”

You don’t look okay, I thought. Oh well. Terri asked me as we walked on what would happen if someone had a heart attack out there. Yikes was essentially my thought, as we were probably a 30 minute walk in from the parking lot at that point at a brisk pace, and what seemed like a 30-40 minute drive from anywhere you’d expect a hospital to be. Both of them were big fellas, and the worst was still ahead of them. Hope they either paced themselves or drank a healthy dose of “screw this” shortly after we saw them.

The ride back was the right kind of quiet. I think we were all too tired to talk much, so I let the music blur into the winding roads of my drive. Some of those roads would be amazing on a motorcycle or with a sports suspension.

Very little of that was how I’d originally envisioned that weekend would be. Like with anything, though, sometimes we’re better for it.