How I enjoyed this weekend! The Hemlock Festival (HemlockFest) is a weekend celebration of music, food, vendors, and awareness about ways to protect the Eastern Hemlock Tree and bring back the American Chestnut tree. It is in North Georgia and one way my family and I give back to something we care about deeply. It is held the first weekend in November every year. We camp the entire festival and it seems to come at a time during the year when a reset couldn’t be needed more. No phone, no computer, no rushing around from activity to activity. It is an intentional break from it all and an opportunity to simply enjoy the mountains in the crisp Fall air.
It is also a time I learn. I learn about something I care about, our forests, and I listen to others as they explain, teach and offer solutions on ways we can fight the Woolly Adelgid, the parasite that destroys the Eastern Hemlock trees. For more information on this, click here. Taking time to learn something outside of education, something that I care about and can give my time and service to, allows me to experience and learn in a different context than what I do every day. It invites into my heart humility and wonder, curiosity and appreciation, focus and play.
This was the second HemlockFest we attended and the second time I got to volunteer by selling HemlockFest merchandise. The “merch” tent is located in a prime spot to hear the music, see the people dancing, and the one tent everyone will visit at some point during the 3-day festival.
The feel is somewhere between the Renaissance Festival and an Allman Brothers Band concert.
The difference is the family vibe. Children’s activities include tree climbing, arts and crafts, toys, a parade, and the climax of throwing fire to burn the Wolly Adelgid in the lake. Clearly, the roots of the festival are locally connected. With students from University of North Georgia volunteering and vendors from Dahlonega, Cumming, Lumpkin County, and Young Harris, Georgia – the flavor of the area is evident. Hundreds of people of all ages and all walks of life came to enjoy the atmosphere. The joy that sparks when people come to support a cause bigger than them proved true this weekend. For more information on the event, see the link on my page under the Thank You tab.
I’m grateful for the break and the reset around the campfire with my family. I am grateful for the time to learn, listen, and soak in the stillness. I am grateful for the outdoors and the warm fire and cozy tent.
Join me next week as I look at self-discipline and its place in our lives. With November beginning, the month’s daily posts will focus on how we spark gratitude and what that spark can generate in our lives and those lives around us.
Thanks for reading!