Living in the Woods...
Made In The Shade
Doreyl Ammons Cain

Under a canopy of green, Nature’s Home Preserve stays cool in the summer, about 75 degrees in the shade. A quiet breeze helps stir -up the mountain air making a delicious recipe for walking in the woods.

Most folks around these parts finish their summer slow work in the early morning or late afternoon, when the sun is low on the horizon. Finding a piece of shade is easy at Nature’s Home among the hickory, oak, sourwood and poplar trees, so we’re out & about all day. One of my favorite pastimes during the warm months is relaxing with Tai Chi. With a Tai Chi teacher for a husband , Jerry Cain, I have had seven years of lessons and have finally mastered this slow moving art.

Tai Chi looks like a cross between shadow boxing and slow motion ballet. History places the beginnings of Tai Chi in about 110-221 BC. Some say this movement form came to a Chinese Taoist hermit by the name of Chang San-Feng through of a series of teaching dreams, others say it developed as a martial arts form into the “Supreme Ultimate Boxing.”

No matter where it originated, today people practice Tai Chi for better physical and mental health. In China it’s considered The Fountain of Youth, keeping you strong, slim, filled with energy, agile and free from arthritis pain. All this and it helps relieve stress too. Tai Chi proves to be more than exercise, it becomes a way of life, bringing a true communion with nature.

Another slow, fun thing to do in the summer is a good game of horse shoes, in the shade of course. Challenged by Jerry’s good aim, I have yet to win a game, but I’m getting closer to victory. My first choice remains taking my sketch pad, pastels and art students into the woods to paint the wildflowers.

Bear Lake lies just across the road from Nature’s Home. Canoeing across the lake can cool you off for the entire day, especially if you fall in. Just down the road on Highway 107 in Tuckasegee a new outfitter, TJ’s Water Adventures, can rent you equipment for floating or rafting down the Tuckasegee River or paddling the lake. There’s nothing like water for keeping you cool... except shade.

Armed with a cold bottle of spring water, a hike on our nature trails adds beauty to a late afternoon. A soft sunset walk gives time for truly enjoying these Great Smoky Mountains. The canopy of trees shelter you and furnish a symphony of sounds- birds and squirrels communicating among themselves. In these slow moving days of summer there’s hardly a better place to cool off. We have it “made in the shade!”


These stories and articles are copyrighted and may not be reproduced in any form electronically, digitally, printed matter or by any other means without written permission from the author, Doreyl Ammons Cain.

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