Habitat 2020: Wednesday – Exploring the Area
ELYSE SCHROEDER and TIM SEYMOUR
Today has been a really great day! We had a full day off from the work site so that we could explore the area. It was nice to have a chance to sleep in. Around 11:15 this morning, we left to go to Grandfather Mountain in Linville, NC. We stopped to look at the bears, otters, cougars, and bald eagles that were in their ‘mini-zoo’ (as I call it), to look over a few sections of the mountain, and then looked at the gift shop. We then went farther up the mountain to go to the Mile High Swinging Bridge. We parked the van in a parking lot that had a sign for a walking path to the bridge. The sign said it was a 0.4 mile walk, but it felt like it was much longer than that because it was uphill, and also required us to walk through mud and climb on large rocks. Once I realized that the path required us to ascend that much, my legs groaned, as they were sore from working yesterday. When I began walking, the altitude and uphill climb made me lightheaded, which resulted in me having to take a few breaks. I was EXTREMELY relieved to see the bridge and to know that the long walk was done.
The view around the bridge was gorgeous, but when I was going to finally cross the bridge, I remembered something: heights are not my favorite thing. As I crossed the bridge, I held on to both railings (with the exception of when people were walking in the other direction) and walked as quickly as I could force myself to. After taking a break and taking some more pictures, we crossed the bridge again (once more, I did so as quickly as good as I could), and made the walk back to the van. This was much easier than the trip to the bridge. We then made our way to Boone, a nearby town, to eat at a restaurant called Macado’s. We were all excited to eat, and after doing so, we looked around and did a bit of shopping, which was fun.
After arriving back at the church where we are staying, Tim Seymour and I prepared our reflection. We wanted our team to begin to think about how the trip has affected them personally. On a few balloons, we wrote some questions. “How has the trip so far compared to what you expected?” “What has been a humbling experience?” “How have you personally grown?” “What goals have you achieved?” “What is something from the trip that you would like to bring back to Lourdes?” “Who has been a positive influence?” We then had the group stand in a circle and toss the balloons around the circle while playing music, and when the music stopped, each person with a balloon would have to answer the first question that they looked at. Our team was very receptive to the questions, and we had some great responses.
The Overview Effect
The Overview Effect is a phenomenon in psychology where someone experiences something so great that their perspective on life is changed towards the love of others. It is seen most in religious experiences and in astronauts looking back at our blue planet.
The greatness of the mountain does not take from the beauty of the flower, but in seeing its greatness we can see the flower more clearly as another beautiful form of nature.
One big question to me is why do we rely so much on the mountains and valleys in our life? Life can be so filled with highs and lows, but what’s consistent is that we’re human, we’re breathing, we’re alive. I don’t want to live for the mountain or the high, I want to live in light of this: Regardless of any greatness of the mountain, it does not take from the beauty of the flower.
“The splendor of the rose and the whiteness of the lilies do not rob the little violet of its scent nor the daisy of its simple charm. If every tiny flower wants to be a rose, the Spring would lose its loveliness.” Saint Therese of Lisieux