I don't know if I've told you before, but I was born and raised at the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. It was a good thing, too, because it seems that when you aren't born into a family with a lot of money, you spend an awful lot of time in places that require little to no money to get into, and what better than the Smoky Mts, right? There are places to go hiking, climbing, swimming, rock skipping, camping, tubing...it's a veritable amusement park without all the cost or fancy decor. I loved it. I still do.
Recently, we took my Dad back to see it through a driving loop known as Cades Cove. When I was younger, there were fewer cars driving it. Most people took their bicycles through. It's a an area where people settled and farmed nestled in this little pocket (cove) surrounded by mountains. Protected. It's a part of the National Park Service, now, and as such, there are homesteads, cabins, a mill, and other features, that are preserved as they were. He had not seen it in a long time, and we had a great time remembering him taking me there as a child, and now, my taking him there, and his being surrounded by grandchildren. It was a kind of neat, zen-like, circle of life kind of day.
So, now, it's Friday, and I find myself channeling the mountains, again. Wishing I could wake up to the smell of that ancient forest. Hearing the river as it winds its way through the mountain, crashing over the worn river rocks as it goes. Seeing the wildlife. It's what I miss the most about "home". If you ever get a chance, get thee to the mountains, and take a trip through the cove. It will be well worth your time. And the Absent Minded Librarian? She is there, in her heart and mind, today. So, go easy on her...
Jill D. Ray
As Big Al would say, The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing.