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Amicalola Falls in North Georgia is a favorite location for my wife, Rebecca, and me, although we don’t get up there very often. However, a couple of weeks ago, we spent several days there, accompanied by our daughter, Lizzi.
Some things had changed since we were last there, including an unfortunate closing of parts of the trail that lead to the observation deck at the center of the falls. However, there was a new (to us) ADA trail that allowed for an easy hike to the edge of the closed observation deck.
As I stood there, taking in this amazing scene of nature’s beauty and power, I remembered a newsletter article I had written back after our first trip. Some long-time readers may remember it, or not, but I wanted to share it again, and for the first time for many of you. So here it is.
One final thought. We had hoped to plan a big trip to celebrate our 40th wedding anniversary (and my 69th birthday – yes, I got married on my birthday), but we still don’t feel comfortable being in crowds of people. So we opted for a favorite getaway spot. I guess you could say we were growing where we are planted.
Grow Where You Are Planted
[Amicalola Falls State Park, Georgia Tuesday, 7/17/2012] Amicalola Falls State Park in the north Georgia mountains is a gem, a location of natural beauty, enveloped in the peaceful and nurturing environment of the high mountains. The lodge at the top of the falls and the top of the mountain offers a vista that changes as the weather and time of day change, and is always beautiful, sometimes dramatically so.
On Tuesday morning, Rebecca and I got up early, at 7:00 AM (well, early by vacation time) and hiked 425 steps down the side of the mountain to the middle falls. It was so quiet and peaceful, no one else around, and we were free to drink in (no pun intended) the natural beauty of the 700+ foot waterfall.
As I contemplated the scene, I began to notice that there were two different kinds of streams coming down the face of the cliff. Of course, there were the thundering, rushing, turbulent streams cascading down the rocks, foaming and shooting spray into the morning air. But as I looked beyond the rushing water, I saw that there was another kind of stream, tiny rivulets of water that dropped gently down, hundreds of them, scattered around and even behind the more forceful runs. These little rivulets dropped without noise or fanfare, sometimes combining to create small streams around the edges of the larger cascades.
As I studied this beautiful scene, it occurred to me that these two types of falling water – the loud, forceful streams and the quiet, gentle rivulets – were like different types of people. Some people are energetic, rushing, powerful, and, in many situations, doing a good deal. A person like Bill Gates comes to mind, but there are many, less extreme examples. These people do a lot and get a lot accomplished, and we typically see them as high achievers and highly successful. Other people are not so forceful, they work quietly in the background, and they, too, accomplish the things that they are suited to do.
The waterfall is made up of both kinds of falling water, the rushing cascades and the gentle rivulets. Both have their part to play and both are essential. It’s the same with the different types of people. If you are the rivulet, success for you is not to be the rushing, energetic, powerful flow. The work of the rivulet is not the same as the work of the rushing stream, but both are important and both can be deemed successful in their own way.
As I thought about this, I began to notice that there were a number of small “islands” of plant growth in the middle of the falls. Where a thin layer of soil covered the rocks in places, plants had taken root and were growing, thriving even. I saw ferns and grasses and, amazingly, 3 or 4 small trees in one such “island”. These trees are never going to reach the height of a tree growing in rich forest soil, but they were thriving and growing as best as they could, where they had been planted.
I again began to think of how this is relevant in my life and in all of our lives. You’ve probably heard it before . . . “Grow where you are planted”. Here, I was seeing it with my own eyes, played out in nature. These trees, I think they were beeches, were growing for all they were worth in a thin covering of soil on the rocky face of a cliff in the middle of a waterfall.
You are where you are meant to be, you are where you are for a reason. There may be lessons you need to learn. There may be someone you are meant to inspire or to assist. Or you may be where you are in order to receive inspiration or assistance from someone. Grow where you are planted. Conditions may not be perfect — in fact, they probably are not — but you can still thrive and flourish. It’s what you are here for. It’s how you embrace an Exclerated Life™!
Excelerated Accomplishment™ — achieving meaningful objectives — is one step in creating your Excelerated Life™, a life of flourishing and well-being, and a life of meaning, purpose, and service.