Health, Fitness and Personal Energy are more than just Exercise and Nutrition. Your Fountain of Youth comes from a cleansing and refreshing of the mind and spirit as well.
While this article is a bit out of keeping with the normal content of this blog, it is about rejuvenation and how a place like where I am writing this from, can heal and refresh the body, as well as the mind and spirit, and can be every bit as stimulating as exercise and nutrition.
My wife and I are ending a rejuvenating (renewal of youth) week of “housesitting” at the home of a beautiful couple who are off on their own journey of rejuvenation out West. This beautiful home is nestled near the Northern end of the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, surrounded on three sides by Virginia’s famous Skyline Drive and the Shenandoah National Park. We are leaving for home this morning and will truly miss being here.
A little history. If you are a long time reader of this blog, you may remember that two years ago I had open heart surgery to replace an aortic heart valve (with parts from a cow). It was not a problem with arteries or plaque build-up or anything like that. It came from the degeneration of a leaky valve (heart murmur) I had since childhood. I was in good physical condition at the time so my recovery was swift and complete.
One of the reasons for the swift recovery was that a very lovely couple we know were going on a trip and they generously “lent” us their home in the mountains thinking, quite correctly, that it would be a great place for me to recover, as well as to have someone in their home while they were gone. This was about a month after the surgery and I was slowly beginning to recover. So we took them up on their kind and generous offer. We discovered a beautiful home with spectacular views, fresh vegetables in the garden, and plenty of nearby places to go to enjoy the surrounding area.
And it was here, two years ago, I started my real recovery from the surgery. We climbed hills, hiked on the Shenandoah River, ate fresh vegetables directly from their garden, and marveled at the views. I actually started renewing my program of regular exercise while we were here. All that at just a month after major surgery and at age 74 (at the time).
It’s been the same the past two years, when they again were so generous with their home. We have again hiked along the Shenandoah River (I wouldn’t really call it a hike — but a whole lot of trail walking). Last year we hiked off Skyline Drive to a local waterfall. This year there has been an outbreak of bears on the trails so we forgo the real hikes in the high country. But we walked the roads and up and down the hills and I have continued daily exercise. We ate squash, lettuce and peas straight from the garden. And two nights ago, the stars at night were as spectacular as I have ever seen stars — I really mean “ever”. In fact our absentee host and hostess are award winning singer-songwriters and he wrote an incredibly beautiful and powerful song about one of the constellations that can be seen so brightly in the night sky from the porch of this mountain paradise – Orion!
And on Saturday night, this being the Independence Day weekend and all, some of the people in the nearby village (pop. about 35 max.) got together privately and put on a fireworks display that could rival the fireworks on the Mall in Washington, DC, and I watched the whole fifteen minute display from the deck.
So rejuvenation has lived up to its definition of “renewing of youth” for the two of us and we return home today filled with the renewal of body, mind and spirit that rejuvenation promises. We have once again discovered our own Fountains of Youth.
And Edie and I send out our heartfelt thanks to a beautiful couple for the unexpected and generous opportunity to once again treasure our time of youthful regeneration here in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia.
Thank you for reading.