This is a view from the backside of the motor loop at Cades Cove, Great Smoky Mountain National Park, TN, USA.
Don’t go there if you’re short on time or too sadly susceptible to the yearnings of an anxious mind; the world’s problems won’t likely be solved here; life as you know it will still be waiting upon your return. It’s here that you’ll be tempted (as I was) to let go of all that seemed so troubling just a few moments ago. If you’re like me, you’ll struggle against that prospect for reasons unknown. Letting go ain’t easy – my findings at least. Maybe it’s the fear of what I’ll turn into minus all my concerns. Maybe it’s the certainty of a serious slap upside the head to come in the realization that too big a chunk of my waking days went to sorting them – all those dramas, big and small, that without exception seem minuscule now when viewed from here. It’s a beautifully cold stare bouncing around in the back of my head to drain ever so relentlessly past the tightness in my throat to settle where it belongs into the fathomless depths of my heart.
Have you ever had beauty just march right up to you and smack you full on in the face; my God, how it can set you to laughing until the burn of tears cascading down the contures of both your faces sort of straightens up the back to throw up a lift to the chin. You can see yourself more clearly in its refection as she smiles back at you from inside you, smiling at the too quick transition from surprise to appreciation that’s in the blush of your cheeks and in the sting of eyes mostly starved for a cry like this. When was it, you wonder, when tears last could take away the pain? When was it last when a full on sobbing didn’t just seem to suck you further down into that dark place you’d hoped the tears instead might bring you up from? “There’s always been two ways to mourn for yourself,” I muse, “and you’re only just remembering now the only one that works.” It’s because she’s here, this strange and prevaling beauty, and now that I’ve stopped chasing circles in the thoughts of my mind it occurs to me that I can truly feel her here with me (She’s nothing of substance that one can take hold of and cling to like some shipwrecked sailor afloat on desolate seas but it doesn’t make her any less real)." Call me a hapless sentimentalist that I’m apt to refer to her in the feminine, but once the feeling began to register, I was like an embarrassed teen shaking off his mother’s last hug goodbye for fear of who might see me and what they might say. This was a practiced reaction and I only saw this just now, as I readied to finally let drop my defenses; maybe this was what put the sting in my cheeks – the notion that she’s everywhere that I find myself, regardless of how things appear, and I’ve been shrugging her off since God knows when…too long. There aren’t many unspoiled places like this left in the world, it seems, where the clean scent of her presence, the gentle sound of her movement isn’t almost obliterated by frantic human activity. And now here’s the stuff in the blush that followed in the slap for me: I don’t have to quiet the entire racket that surrounds me to feel her approach. I simply have to still my own contribution to it. And there she is, apparent to me, even she isn’t as plain to see as a boulder siting upright in a field.
It happened here, merely contemplating from my open car window as I passed, to pause but a moment and notice the catch in my breathing as I gazed out beyond this stone. I ceased and desisted at my running away. It was in that millisecond that she got to me, my attention captivated, the seed planted, and I’m not likely to ever be the same. It’s kind of like crossing a bridge into a fog bank. You can’t see what’s ahead; maybe you’re a bit sick and tired of what you’ve made for yourself on the side behind you. It’s the feeling of her inside that brings the courage to keep to that heading into the ‘terrible unknown.’ The feeling of her is only going to increase in this direction – its a strange kind of certainty informing me as I make my way forward. It’s reward enough. The feel of her greater-ness increasing in me seems reason enough. © 2011 Miles A Moody. All rights reserved. All written and photographic works are the property of the copyright holder and are not to be duplicated without owner consent.
Nikon D90, 35 mm, F/18, Gitzo Tripod, Bogen Head, CP filter. An HDR2 processed image in CS5 @ 1/20, 1/80 and 1/160 sec (+2, 0 and -2 exposures).