Okay everyone; here is the story post I promised.
My Story Chapter 8: The Perfect Date
In October of 1999, just a few weeks after Ryan and I started dating we took a day trip to the White Mountains, which are about 3 ½ hours northeast of Phoenix. In those mountains about 5 miles west of Big Lake there is a small secluded meadow that has a campsite on either end of it. I discovered this meadow with my best friend, Emily, when I was about 16. We started going there for about two weeks a year every year after that.
This little meadow is about 2 acres of grass and wildflowers tucked back into a very dense stand of blue spruce, oak, and pine. A little stream runs through it and in May it is blanketed in wild Iris flowers. The air is clean, fresh, and so crisp it takes your breath away. It is a wonderful place.When Emma and I first found this meadow we used to lie on our backs in the grass watching clouds and daydream about having our weddings there and then later camping with our families on either side of the meadow. It was our own little getaway our own little slice of heaven.
So when Ryan and I started dating I decided that this was a place I wanted to share with him. I wanted him to see this place that I had dreamed in and prayed in. I wanted him to feel the magic of it. It did not quite work out that way.
He picked me up early, about 6am, and we made it there by about 10:30am. We drove around the lake and enjoyed the scenery.Then we drove back into the meadow. I think Ryan liked it as soon as he saw it. Of course it was fall so no flowers but the colors were beautiful.
It was a dream come true for two city kids who were tired of the hustle and bustle. We unpacked the truck, (some camp chairs, food, and firewood.) then we built a fire and settled in to have lunch and warm up.
We sat by the fire for a few hours talking and daydreaming. What would it be like to have a place like this? To raise a family in a place where you are more likely to see a deer than a car.
We would build a two story farmhouse with five bedrooms and a wrap around balcony and porch. We would be able to sit out and watch the sunrise and sunset and just soak up the quiet, the peace, and the sun. Oh well that is not in our cards but it was a lovely daydream.
We walked hand in hand along all the little trails and explored the meadow all afternoon. We talked about everything and nothing and became so much closer. It’s funny looking back on it, not a year before I was there with Emily and I went off into the field myself to pray. I rededicated my life to God and gave up trying to make my life into something. I gave it all up to him to make something of it.I told God that I would trust him to bring the right man into my life. Less than a year later here I was walking through this place with the man I would marry.
It was the perfect day. The perfect date. At least until it started to get dark.
I suddenly started to feel as if we were being watched and like the woods were suddenly crowded. I began to feel really skittish.I turned to Ryan realizing that it had suddenly become very quiet, and started to talk at the same time he did. We both said at the same time, “I think we should leave.” That was the straw that broke the camels back, we were freaked. We packed up and I drove out since I knew the roads better than Ryan.
We were driving out on dirt roads that were suddenly so dark that the headlights on high beam were barely cutting it back to the edges of the trees. That in itself was frightening as it was only 5pm. We both started to feel a very real sense of urgency. We had to get out of those woods.
Suddenly I looked up and saw clear as day two little boys running across the road. One on a bike and the other running beside him. I slammed on the brakes at the same time Ryan yelled “STOP!” It didn’t make sense, they were crossing the road in the dark from one dense patch of woods to another.Ryan said, “What’s going on? Something is not right.” Just then the little boy that was running turned and looked at us. His eyes were flat and cold and he started to laugh. Then they were gone. No I don’t mean they made the woods, they were just gone. Needless to say I hit the gas, HARD!!!!!!!!
We started praying as hard as we could and drove. We were out of the woods and on a highway about 30 minutes later and the urgency began to let up. We also realized that as dark as it had been, out here on the road it wasn’t dark. It was just barely sunset. We drove straight home without stopping. I have never had another experience like that, and I don’t care to.
This was one of the strangest and scariest experiences we have ever had together, or apart for that matter. I don’t know what happened and I don’t know what would have happened if we had stayed, I just know that we had to leave. We have been back a few times since and it is still a beautiful place, but it has never been quite the same.