Monday, October 03, 2005


I try and have at least one day of renewal a month. Those who know me well know that I take time out A LOT (shut up Gavin). But I really like a true "day apart" every now and then. So this Friday I had an early meeting with my friend and staff parish liason, Jody, and then I took off West of Nashville.

I ended up at the Narrows of the Harpeth for a time of hiking and prayer. What did I take with me? I packed nothing but my gray hoodie (it was a bit chilly), a northface waist pack (I promise it's cooler than a fannypack), the book of common prayer (my guide for the day) and the book, Living Faithfully: as a prayer book people by John H. Westerhoff (a guide to the book of common prayer).

I had never been to the trails at the Narrows and I was in for a treat.

I began the hike with a short prayer prayer from bcp:
"O give thanks unto the Lord, and call upon his Name; tell the people what things he hath done. Psalm 105:1"; "I was glad when they said unto me, "We will go into the
house of the Lord." Psalm 122:1". I was in awe as I realized that I HAD come to the house of the Lord and it was so beautiful. I was sitting on a picnic table by the Harpeth River realizing that for the first time that week- it was SO quiet.

I hiked for about a mile, a fairly steep hike up onto bluffs overlooking the river. It was gorgeous with an incredible overlook. I found a bluff with the most incredible rock formation. It was perfect as an altar. So I put my prayer book on it and asked God to bless it and the day for me. I then spent the better part of a couple of hours reading and enjoying the sounds of nature around.

It was absolutely amazing.

As I was reading I was greeted by fellow pilgrims on the trail- a mom and her 3 year old daughter out for an afternoon hike. Meagan, the 3 year old plopped down on a rock beside me and began to tell me all about the lunch she and mom were going to have in a few minutes and then about how cool the river was. I listened and secretly thanked God for such wonderful company. After a few moments I left the two for their lunch as I headed back down the bluff.

Next I hiked a different trail and ended up at a very cool waterfall. It was actually a kind of cavern where fresh spring water flowed out of the cavern and then into a large pool. It was pretty incredible. I sat in utter enjoyment watching the water.

Opening the bcp I read the following prayer that seemed so perfect for the moment:
"O gracious Father, who openest thine hand and fillest all
things living with plenteousness: Bless the lands and waters,
and multiply the harvests of the world; let thy Spirit go
forth, that it may renew the face of the earth; show thy
loving-kindness, that our land may give her increase; and
save us from selfish use of what thou givest, that men and
women everywhere may give thee thanks; through Christ
our Lord. Amen." bcp, prayer 40

After that, I headed back towards my car. But before I left I once again sat on the picnic table where I started. I sat and watched a couple fish in the river. They were having so much fun. I asked God to bless their time together and time apart from the hustle and bustle.

I ended my time with this:
"Almighty God, in giving us dominion over things on earth,
you made us fellow workers in your creation: Give us wisdom
and reverence so to use the resources of nature, that no one
may suffer from our abuse of them, and that generations yet
to come may continue to praise you for your bounty; through
Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen." bcp, prayer 41

All in all, my pilgrimage was exactly what I had hoped for. I highly recommend The Narrows of the Harpeth as a place to get away for a day.


From exit 188, on I-40 west of Nashville, take TN 249 and follow it 2.3 miles to a T intersection with US 70. Turn left, heading west on US 70 for 2.3 miles to Cedar Hill Road. Turn Right on Cedar Hill Road and follow it 3 miles to the Harris-Street Bridge, which will be on your right. Turn right just before the bridge to a parking area. The trail starts down by the Harpeth River beyond some vehicle barrier boulders.


At 4:44 AM, Blogger Eric Coomer said...

Narrows of the Harpeth is one of my favorite getaways around Nashville!

When I lived in Bellevue (only 30 minutes away or so) I used to go a lot.

You have reminded me of a place I had all but forgotten. I think I shall return very soon.


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