Sunday, May 25, 2008

Glimpses of Grandeur

Yesterday we found out that Papaw Owen, my dad's dad, passed away. 96-and-a-half years old, WWII vet, married to Mamaw for almost 70 years. It is sad, but it's also overwhelmingly comforting to imagine him, sitting down with dad, hands folded in conversation, laughter creasing around their eyes in reunion. I can hear him saying "Jeff, what happened in that truck?"

The veil between creation and eternity gets increasingly scarce in nature. Mostly the hiking is hard, but there are moments of transcendence, where colors seem to be more vivid and the smells of spring are slowly more common to us than exhaust and clorox. We woke up yesterday overlooking Pearisburg and the New River. It felt like heaven.

Returning home today to be with family - will be coming back to the trail in a few days.


Anonymous said...

Sorry to hear about your grandfather. I remember once after one of our Clinch canoe trips he watched me tie my dad’s canoe to the car roof. Then he asked me if I was ever in the Navy because I was tying sailor’s knots. I said “no” and he told me about sailing around the “Cape”. It was a really cool story, but I had no idea what cape he was talking about. But since that time when I read about the fierce storms around Cape Horn in a book or watch them in a movie or documentary I always think back to your grandfather on that day. I wonder if he is in heaven sailing while Jeff is fishing off the bow. If there is anything I can do let me know. You have my condolence.

Anonymous said...

Hi Guys,
Sorry to hear about your pawpaw. All I can say is God's mercy is new everyday and His joy will come in the morning. He is so faithful. You guys will be up my way soon. I live close to Charlottesville. I would love to meet you all in Waynesboro when you come through. If you want call me at 434-962-9112. Or my email is
Lindsey Kiser

Amy said...

oh bets... i'm so sorry to hear that! we think about you guys all the time here at the tide. and yes, it does look like heaven where you are!

Anonymous said...

Hi, I've really enjoyed reading your blog! I live near Pearisburg and I know the area is beautiful.
I also saw a picture of your sister Stacy and I think I may know her. I was wondering if you could either send me her email address or give her mine so that I might be able to ask her.
Have fun out there and be safe!


Kevin Doll aka StinkyKD said...

The Bulls - sorry to hear about the death. hope everyone is doing the best that they can. miss you guys terribly. I'm up at mile 809 in Montebello at the Dutch Haus B+B. Fell coming out of Perisburg and dislocated my finger realy bad (stacked the first two joints on top of the third) and was in a splint and sling for a week. Out of that now - but still not even close to 100% mobility yet. 5 days in damascus for trail days - was WAY too much. Hope you get back on trail soon - and hope to see you both again. peace out - Blaze '08. oh you can check out my blog at (I even have my xray on there!)

Anonymous said...

Hey Bets and Dustan--I have just come home from Cleveland--Mother is sad, and I hated so much to leave her, but I think she will do okay. Betsy, thank you so much for your touching comments at the memorial--what you said was just right, and Daddy would be very proud of you as well as your kind words about him. Dustan, thank you for being so good to him and so special to him--I don't guess you know it, but he told me that you were "the smartest YOUNG man he had ever known." He loved you both and was so proud of you. Be safe and have fun--that picture is so pretty!!!! Love you guys!! I spent some time with Susie at Hidden Valley Saturday--that's a special place with so much of Jeff in every part of it. Love, Jo

Anonymous said...

Bets and Dustan,

I'm sorry I didn't get a chance to get up with you when Papaw Owen died. We were on vacation in FL but I was definitely thinking of your family and praying for you all. I had the same thoughts as you wrote in the blog about him sitting with your dad. That made me so excited for him. I'm also thankful how the Lord worked out your trip and brought you to the perfect place to be able to come in for his memorial service. If you get the chance, please post the next post office. I've got something to send you. Trek on! Love, Martha

kevin and elizabeth said...

Hey sweet bull. we are very sorry to hear of the death in your family. we and many others are thinkin of you guys. in fact you two are probably the most talked about hikers on the trail at the moment, every shelter is like "where are those Bulls!" we are in glasgow resupplying and taking it slow onto Montebello and stay at the Dutch Haus (which you have to hit up for at least free lunch!) this sat the7th. we are meetin my parents in waynesboro on the 11th so you might be close to catching by then. we're thinking of doing some tubing on the river there!
hike it up and hope to see ya soon.

the trilogy