As I look through the bare trees of winter on this rainy morning, the valley below appears white with the morning fog lingering. Some would say the view in winter looks barren and ugly, yet I see beauty and promise.
Looking out over the North Georgia mountains known as the Blue Ridge I wonder if de Sota traveled below, looking for the fountain of youth. It occurs to me that this view could have been what he was seeking. Maybe de Soto and his Cherokee or Etowah companions camped below near the river, long before the dam made the lake.
I wonder how many Spanish, French or English walked the land where my house now stands. Did they hunt the ancestors of the deer I see feeding nearby? Maybe elk once walked this ridge moving to higher ground before they were all killed off. With abundant food, I wonder if the Cherokee hid here to escape the Trail of Tears? Probably not I think sadly.,
While history records the battles of the Civil War near Atlanta or to the north near Chattooga, I can’t help but wonder how many Union and Confederate soldiers walked these mountains either going to battle or making their way home.
The woodlands on this mountain are healthy, and during the summer when the foliage is heavy, I am not privy to the mist below. I think about the virgin forest before the lumber companies harvested the massive trees. Even in winter, I would not have been able to see the fog below.
I wonder how many local boys and men traveled the roads below on their way to work on the Appalachian Trail that runs through these mountains? Those roads of dirt and gravel, traveled by horse and wagons, now paved and some even widened to four lanes. Those roads were laid by the now abanded railroad tracks. Tracks that have not seen a train in decades.
I see all the history around me, some known but mostly unknown and unwritten. I grasp the times gone by that my imagination breeds on this morning. Indeed de Sota, I believe the fountain of youth may have been right here on this mountain.