Behind the Words: A Night Off By the River in Damascus

An excerpt from my notebook, written last night:

I’m sitting on a large rock in the river next to my cabin, my feet in the water and resting on a slimy rock below the surface. The current is moving pretty good out in the center, but here on the side the water is still, the flow blocked by the many rocks that lay five, ten feet in front of where I am. A white goose with a red head just flew past me a few feet to my right – I don’t seem to be having much luck with birds this week.

It is absolutely beautiful out, the late afternoon sun spreading its orange light on the green leaves of the surrounding trees. Later the lightening bugs will light them up, but for now they soak up the rays and wave in the light breeze.

It feels good to have a chance to put the pen to the pad and just let it flow, no research or agenda, just thoughts as they come to my head. Today I did a two-hour hike along the Appalachian Trail and a 16-mile bike ride on the Creeper Trail – both stories to come – but for now I just want to keep my feet in the water, my back to the sun. I made an awfully nice drink – whiskey and soda – and sipping it here and feeling the smooth rocks on my feet and the pleasant fatigue of my tired legs – this is what Damascus is all about, getting into the wilderness and clearing your head, exercising your body and feeling fine about all of it at the end of the day. I can hear the pleasant sounds of the birds and it sounds like they’re very happy, so why shouldn’t I be?

I know a lot of people are of the opinion that travel writing is all glamour and no grit, but I’ve been working my tail off since the start of this road trip, leaving my place at 8 a.m. and not returning until 3 a.m. on some occasions. I’m having a lot of fun, however a large percentage of that time has been spent performing under pressure, meeting deadlines in the corners of coffee shops. I’ve held myself more accountable on this trip than I think I ever have – party because of its prestige and partly for other reasons – and it’s nice to have a little me time, let the sound of the river do its thing. Sometimes the brain needs a break from reporting, sometimes it gets tiring when you’re constantly thinking about how to relay and portray an experience to others instead of only internalizing it for yourself. I’m not complaining, just explaining.

This afternoon after my bike ride I picked up a few cuts of salmon and a salad, and I’m going to grill out on the deck of my cabin. I”ll be putting the pen to the pad again later tonight, but these next few hours are mine, just me and the drink and the food and the river.

Amazing night, I hope you all find a time to reconnect in your own way. Now back to work – more Beaufort coverage on the way.

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River alongside my cabin at Damascus Cabins.
Damascus Cabins.
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