Adriana Zoder: Jumping in cold brings a smile to the face

Mar. 24, 2013 @ 11:48 AM

March seems like the longest month of the year for me. Always has and probably always will.

Maybe because it follows the shortest month of the year. Or, maybe, because the weather gets warm, and then it gets cold again.

This reminds me how much I want April to be here already, so that May and June and the rest of the warm months may return.

A group of us took advantage of the patch of sunny days with temperatures around 68 degrees by going on a picnic at the Chimney Tops Picnic Area. We noticed the back picnic area was closed off. Chimney Tops, the trail itself, was closed, too.

The National Park was coming out of the winter schedule slowly, but surely.

The rock stars of the day were the rocks, no pun intended. From the minuscule pebbles of the pea gravel around the picnic table, to the smooth, dark, medium size river stones, to the giant boulders on the river banks, our children really enjoyed the rocks.

We brought a corn toss game and our friends brought a ball and a Frisbee, but most of the entertainment came from rocks. Nothing beats playing with rocks, jumping on rocks, feeling the smooth, wet river rocks, running your fingers through tiny rocks, and taking pictures on the big, majestic boulders.

Facebook does not contain enough pictures of boulders, so we thought we might remedy that.

Three teenage boys jumped in the freezing cold water, making the appropriate sounds. The two young ladies who accompanied them watched without a word, and one could see on their faces they were not so sure any more they wanted to take the challenge of plunging into the cold river.

Which sparked a conversation among my group of friends, most of us in our 30s, about the days when we were younger … and doing stupid things like jumping in the freezing cold waters of a river on a sunny but windy spring day.

Of course, I use the word stupid affectionately. Some stupid decisions remain a dear memory. Others bring about consequences that may last a lifetime in a not so pleasant way.

Jumping in cold rivers falls in the former category and, as such, only puts a smile on our faces. It also gives us a conversation starter.

My children got the obligatory scrapes from walking on and around big river boulders. They put their feet in the water, almost by accident. I always bring a change of clothes and shoes, so we were still able to hike the Gatlinburg trail afterwards.

It was a tiring day, but a special one, and it gave me courage to tackle picnicking again with my two small kids. The fresh air and sunshine work wonders for children and adults alike. Just remember to bring sunblock and take your Zyrtec the night before.

 — Adriana Zoder, who was born in Romania, is an American citizen living with her husband and two children in Gatlinburg.Email to aezoder@gmail.com.