Stumbling My Way to a Major Realization, Part II: The Clear Message

*Welcome.  This is Part II of a series.  Please see Part 1 for further details.

“When the student is ready the teacher will appear.” ~ Buddhist proverb

Great Smokey Mountains National Park

View from overlook at Great Smoky Mountains National Park during the trip from Cherokee, NC to Gatlinburg, TN.

In Part I of this series I described a rather scary near stumble that occurred during a run on the Gatlinburg Trail in Great Smoky Mountain National Park on October 10.  While it was scary, I recovered almost immediately.  In fact my pace never actually slowed.  I continued on with my run, with a heightened state of awareness regarding my surroundings.

Later in the run, as the sun was setting I witnessed some amazing natural beauty in those woods.  I saw water, reflecting the sunset in a pinkish hue, cascading over rocks in the river.  I looked up to see the sun’s rays reflecting in bright pink and orange splashes against thick clouds as they moved across the top of a mountain.

And that is when the second wave of gratitude hit.  I became immediately in awe of the beauty of nature…the beauty of life.  I felt thankful for being able to witness this wonderful scene at this exact moment.  Then I thought of how many times in the past million or more years such a scene has occurred at this spot and how many more times this same type of scene will happen in the future.  I understood, very clearly,  that people will be witnessing scenes like this, hopefully at this exact spot, long after I am no longer on this planet in this physical form.  And then the big vision hit me.

I felt a strong realization that I want to be part of the beauty of this planet.  Now and forever.  And I realized, without a doubt, that I can be.  I often read about people having moments in their lives when they experience some sort of divine message and this was one of those moments for me (it has happened before for me too, I just wasn’t ready to see it that way or to put it in those words).  I then thought of several ways I can be part of the beauty of this life while I am alive.  The first thing that came to mind, was that like Andrea Minard (mentioned in Part 1), I want to help people see the beauty in life.  To do what I have already started with this blog – continue pointing out the positive – but to go deeper, to help people see the miracle of life that is all around them.  I then thought even more profoundly about how I want to go beyond the stated purpose of this blog.  I want to be a teacher of peace.  I want to help people who have similar feelings find others that think this way too.  I want to be a teacher of beauty, a teacher of calmness, a positive thought leader, a spiritual thinker, a spiritual guide.  And ultimately I want also to be the beauty of life by living in a way that promotes it.

I had one more thought as I gazed at the natural scenery around me.  It is the hardest one to grasp but I felt the truth in it as I was running along the banks of that river in the woods – that even after our lives on this earth are over, we are still part of all of the beauty.  The spirit in us does go on and becomes part of this beauty.  Really it is already there, because again, if we are open to it and able to accept it we are part of this beauty now and always will be.

flower, leaves, foliage

Flower blooming in autumn on The Gatlinburg Trail.

Most of the thoughts I had during my run on that cool fall afternoon, I have had before, but never so profoundly.  I knew the direction I wanted to go but never had the exact words to describe them until after tripping on that rock.  I have a long way to go to get to where I know I am going but the first step is putting it into words, and the events of that day helped me get there.  The second step is putting my intentions out into the world and I have begun that process by writing this article.

With peace and gratitude,

Steve Strother

*All photos in this post were taken with my Motorola Droid X and were not taken during the run :) .


About Steve Strother

I am a husband/father/human being looking for ways to move past the status quo. I strive to find solutions; to find the positive; to celebrate the joyous, the just, and the inspirational. Living peacefully and compassionately in the present is my ultimate goal. I love to write! To learn more about me please visit my blog at
This entry was posted in Gratitude, inspiration, Nature, Running, Thankfulness and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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