After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray…
Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.”
After an amazing day with my friend, Debbie Wall the illustrator of, “The Manger Mouse” signing copies of our new children’s picture book on Saturday at The Yadkin Valley Pumpkin Festival in Elkin, NC my husband and I snuck off to a far away place in the woods. A spot where the mountains meet the sky and the fog shrouds the lofty peaks. We traveled to my third favorite point on this earth. My home in Elkin is first, and my camper on the New River is second.
Cades Cove, Tennessee holds a special place in my heart and life. I can go to this haven and forget all my worries and to-do-lists… well almost. For twenty years I have journeyed up Highway 40 or Highway 81 to the Smoky Mountains. I either travel through Gatlinburg, or, Pigeon Forge depending on the route I choose to take. Notice I said I travel “through” these tourist traps. I have no desire to stop and take in a music show, or, shop at the hundreds of places that stretch for miles lining both sides of the street through these towns. Now there’s nothing wrong with doing that it’s just not my thing
There is a far, fairer land I’m destined for. A place where deer, turkey, coyote, fox, wolves, and black bear roam freely. A spot where you can dip your toes in a crystal clear stream, take a hike on one of the many trails, or just sit by Abram’s Falls and think of nothing but how at peace you are. Or, you might want to tour the gristmill, meander through Carter Shields cabin, or stop and say a silent prayer in the old Primitive Baptist Church.
Even with all the people crowding the one-way, eleven-mile loop I can still find the magic of the mountains, and, the people who once lived there. I can close my eyes and picture a huge mama bear shooing her cubs up a tree so they’ll be out of reach of us humans who come in droves to spot the magnificent creatures. I can hear the clanging of the bell that once hung around the milk cows neck when she came in from the meadow for her evening milking, and, the laughter of children as they ran barefoot chasing butterflies.
To have lived back in the late 1800’s when Cades Cove was an active community would have been a hard, but wonderful life. Back then we wouldn’t have had to worry about the government shutting down, and we probably wouldn’t have known it if it had. People back then grew their own food, raised a hog or two to slaughter, hunted deer and trapped for beaver and mink in the nearby streams. They were self-reliant. I often tell people I should have been born a hundred years ago. I love the land, the mountains, and, it’s creatures. But most of all I yearn for the peace that I find in this wonderland called Cades Cove. Even Jesus needed a quiet place to rest sometimes.
(Hope to see you at the Autumn Jubilee at Dan Nicholas Park in Salisbury, NC this Saturday and Sunday, October 5-6.)