Thirty four years ago my in-laws, my husband and I loaded into the car and headed to Gatlinburg Tennesee. It was a regular trip for them but a first for me. I was eight months pregnant and wide eyed with wonder at theses new experiences. The innocence of youth was beautiful.
Somehow we managed to all stay in one room and not kill each other! I experienced “Silver Dollar City” (now Dollywood), Ober Gatlinburg, and the Cherokee mountains. Time and years passed – my daughter grew up playing in the streams here, visiting Aunt Hailey in Pigeon Forge, playing putt-putt, shopping and of course eating. The years passed quickly- my in-laws couldn’t take the heat and my daughter grew up and Gatlinburg didn’t interest her anymore. It was now up to Steve and I to keep up the tradition. No problem- I love it.
We now spend days supporting the local artists, the economy with all our eating and the mountain with our visits to Cherokee (casino). During the heat of the day we walk the tree covered hiking trail by the river. That cold mountain water revives my hot, swollen feet! I find myself so grateful for the peace and beauty of it all. Mother Nature…….thank you…….
Shortly after our visit last year human error and ignorance cost us dearly here in Gatlinburg. I was at home when I heard a news bulletin about a wild fire in the smokey mountains. My attention was peaked when I heard it was fast approaching the town. My town.
When it was all said and done precious lives were lost, homes, forest, and the one motel lost was ours, “The Riverhouse Motor Lodge”. It was old and basic but it was our favorite-nestled right in the woods overlooking the flowing river. Nothing left but chimneys and a few concrete walls. Patio chairs still sit outside with only the metal framework remaining. The positive side has to to with the wonder of Mother Nature. The fire followed a destructive, decisive path yet not destroying everything in its path. The randomness of it was in some ways fascinating. Surprisingly My eyes aren’t drawn to the burnt out trees but to mother natures work at bringing it all back. New life growing at the base of burned out trees, flowers fighting their way through the burnt first floor. Amazing….
Down on the farm I frequently complain to mama about “Mother Nature always winning” . I fight to stop her from consuming our old tobacco barns and out buildings and even fight to save the slab of concrete that was once our grandmas porch, but in this mountain case, I concede……. Mother Nature…..do your thing….. Survive despite the stupid things we do to destroy you. You are greater than all of us…..and when I die and they put me in the ground or scatter my ashes you get even me back…..you win.