Friday, October 23, 2009


click on pictures to enlarge I feel great today after paddling a canoe for over seven hours on Cheoah Lake. I paddled around the entire lake and I felt like it when I got back. I am amazed that I feel great today and pain free. Must be the oatmeal breakfasts I eat every day. The weather forecast for today is for high winds and rain. Maybe that will come to past but, not for hours. It would be risky to take a boat on the lake today. My boats are both rather small and wind is a safety concern. I thought I would get Shade, Douglas and Happy out for a little run in the woods down at the ruins on Tellico Lake. It's been months since we were at the ruins and I wanted to see if the leaves were changed there yet. It felt good to see the ruins and the familiar trees surrounding the area. The colors of Fall were definitely present. One more week would transform this place into an artist's canvas with nature doing the painting. Even today the colors were impressive. This place is fascinating. It is wonderful to investigate and learn about the past. I wish these old ruins could talk. The stories would be endless. One has to remember that numerous families came and went on this land where I stand. All the pains and joys of life, not to mention living through the Civil War, occurred here. These old ruins are all that is left. I wonder how long this particular piece of ground will be left alone for all to enjoy. It is amazing it made it untouched this long. Tennessee has a fetish for selling her land. I remember in Pennsylvania, where I am from, that properties were developed piece meal, et: mostly in small parcels. Ten acres here and five acres there would be developed after being sold by a farmer who decided to retire. A real-estate company or broker would buy it up and develop it. Just progress and the way of things. But, I notice here in Tennessee that the land is sold in huge swaths. Enormous, vast stretches of land, both flat and timbered, are developed by enormous conglomerates who put fancy names on the projects like Slumber Point or Heaven Cove. Lake side properties seem to be the most desired. Only yesterday I heard a hour long radio program sponsored by a land development agency from Great Britain promoting a 6000 acre project on Watts Barr Dam. Not six hundred acres but six thousand acres. Imagine that! The amazing thing is that the promoter isn't from Florida where they usually come from. No, not even from Tennessee. They're from Great Britain. How can that be? All the gorgeous land in this state that isn't protected by being in the confines of the national park is up for sale, or will be. I wonder how long it can last. When I used to drive a boat for TWRA on FT Loudon Lake; I would at time have to pull onto shore to let Douglas off to run about. Even five years ago when he was just a puppy it was impossible to set foot on the shoreline and not be on private property. Homes that rival the size of the average Wall Mart sit atop the cliffs that border the lake. I'll never understand how reality companies can somehow get hold of the land that TVA conscripted from the original land owners who have passed it down from family to family through generations. I guess, in my mind, they took the land for the dams. Understood. Obviously they took more than they needed. Yep; I get it. So now, I guess, TVA can sell the land to speculators and developers and realize a healthy profit. After all; TVA paid the farmers for the property in the first place. Oh; now I get it. I just talked my way through it. I understand now. It's a matter of ethics. 1. Take the land from the original owners. 2. Build a nice dam. 3. Sell the surplus land that was taken to the realty people for a nice profit. 4. Cover both edges of the dam with elaborate homes. Makes sense. The ruins sit in Monroe County, the most depressed County in Tennessee. I guarantee that if a light bulb turns on between the ears of the right politician, this gorgeous piece of property will be transformed into a marvelous golf course. It is still a state park, although it lies in a dormant condition. But, it is a state park. I'm not sure of what crack in the park service it fell through, but it is in darkness and evidently out of the vision of those who love to sell land. I was discussing the probable loss of more wilderness country in Tennessee to a friend just the other day. I made the statement that the day I see a house go up on the shoreline of Calderwood Lake is the day I'll lay my canoe across two saw horses and smash it through the middle. And, I'll leave Tennessee and go back to Pennsylvania. I could not endure the loss of such a fantastic wilderness place. A house on Calderwood would amount to so much litter. If people want to live crowded together and envy their neighbors then let them live in the cities and complexes where they can watch each other with envy and lust over what the Jone's have. When the lakes are bordered with homes and all the big trees are gone, and the asphalt encroaches into the forests to carry the multitudes of city dwellers to their country estates; then what will you look at and appreciate? And the developers will move on to other territories. Ok; I'll get off my soap box. When I look around me here at this ruined estate I can see remnants of the past. Above is a garden that someone obviously put a lot of thought into. How many years has this little spot of beauty been here? Torrential rains, drought and the hands of man have left it alone to thrive. It's good to see and pleasing to the eye. The dogs are becoming impatient and ready to move. All of them have enjoyed the afternoon here. I guess I better pack my writing stuff and camera and be off. A lot of photos similar to these have been recorded last year. But, I can see differences in the landscape since I was last here. I'll post a few more pictures before leaving. Another week will bring full color to the ruins Delicate forms highlite everything much as a picture frame surrounds a fine art print. The colors of Fall come in many shapes; not only leaves. This is a tree that overhangs the lake shore where Douglas, Shade and Happy swim. They have played under it's branches for three years now. I wonder how much longer it can last. It can't go on much longer. Most of it is fallen into the water due to erosion caused by the large boats that contribute to the erosion of the banks. It is only wishful folly that I think it will last another season. Shade; come! Its time to go. It's like leaving an old friend. How long can this old friend survive? I hope, for the sake of this land, that this old friend is overlooked by most. Shade! Come I said!