I'm sitting about 200 feet above Deep Creek Lake, comfortably ensconced in beautiful Garrett County. The wind is blowing gently through the old growth forest, and I can hear boats shooting across the lake, laughter signaling another family's enjoyment of his mountain lake paradise.
We came up Saturday, having rented one of the "cabins" that line the lake. I use the word cabin cautiously, as there is nothing rustic about our rental home. The log exterior would fool you into believing something different, but the vaulted Great Room ceiling with floor to roof windows, the home theater system, and the hot tub on the back patio dispel any fears of roughing it.
We have always spent our summer vacation at the beach, usually in Ocean City, with one stop in my childhood haunt of Stone Harbor, New Jersey. This year, we opted for something different. Amy had expressed an interest in somewhere other than the beach, tired of repeating the inevitable burn and peel cycle.
Amy has always loved hikes in the mountains (Cunningham Falls is one of her favorites), so I thought Deep Creek might be the answer. The one question mark was the kids, as Morgan and Cassie are grown (23 and 18), and Rick III is 13. Turns out there is plenty to do, especially if you count doing nothing on vacation as something.
In four days, we've hiked Swallow Falls, rode the chair lift to the top of the Wisp Ski resort, played Lazer Tag, driven Go Karts, played several board games (Catch Phrase is great), and worked on a 2000 piece puzzle. The puzzle thing is to do as you walk by, but it sucks you in like a black hole, trapping you until you get a large section done.
Each one of us brought a few books to read, and we're all on track to finish one or several during the week. I'm maintaining my lifelong commitment to constantly read both a fiction and a work of non-fiction, thanks to the Frederick County Public Library.
One of the best moments was watching a doe wander right up to the side of the cabin, stop and watch us with calm curiosity, then wander away as if she hadn't a care in this world. Gracie, our black lab pup, wasn't nearly as calm!
In the few days that remain, we're going boating (girls want a leisurely pontoon boat, boys want a 135hp ski boat). We stayed up late Wednesday night to watch the Perseid meteor shower, and we had at least one trip (yeah, right) to the Lakeside Creamery for ice cream.
What strikes me about all of this is the beauty of our wonderful state. I left the Monocacy Aqueduct on Friday, after a ceremony where Community Commons had agreed to partner with the United States Park Service to restore land on the Frederick County side of the bridge.
Driving from the aqueduct, back through Tuscarora and Point of Rocks, I was again struck by the beauty and serenity of southwestern Frederick County. This beautiful place never ceases to amaze, and the price of admission to this unfolding mystery is simply to get out there!
I pity anyone who, for whatever reason, has yet to sample the magic of Maryland, from her mountain lakes to her majestic forests, from her urban excitement to her warm sunny beaches, from her wild and scenic rivers to her quiet Bay islands.
Being a delegate is fun and exciting. Meeting new people, trying to help folks solve problems, and working to make Maryland a better place are all interesting challenges. Everyone in our family has their own priorities and challenges. Our volunteer work, our church commitments, getting ready for school, and keeping five people organized and focused all take time and energy.
Taking time to explore Maryland's majestic beauty offers us a chance to reconnect, recharge, and renew our sense of wonder and awe for the beauty with which God has so generously surrounded us.