Thursday, July 22, 2010


click on photos to enlarge

Yesterdays camp out on Calderwood is a tough act to follow.  So, I didn't even try today.  After attempting to mow grass; I gave up when the zero turn mower finally lost all power to the left side wheel.  It is now a dangerous proposition using it.  I mow a lot of hills and sloping banks requiring both wheels to be involved in the propulsion business.  Off to the shop it went.
I decided to take the three dogs to the ruins and lull about in the shade.  The heat and humidity was stifling.  There was no way to find relief anywhere.  Even the water is 85 degrees in the shallows near the shoreline.  Perspiration poured down my back soaking me as if I were in the water.  We need a good rain.
I took a couple short movies of the ruins to give a better perspective of what the place is like;  a flavor of the place.  The movies are short as I have trouble uploading longer versions to the blog site.
The dogs are lounging under any shade they can find.  A doe with a small, dog size fawn, ran across the field behind and they wouldn't even give chase.  Thats saying something for this bunch of canine.  I do miss Calderwood and Slick Rock Creek.  I'm already putting a plan together to visit there again next week. 

I have been worried about old Sigh, the ancient hound that has been my guest for the past five years.
She used to go on outings with us but could not keep up.  I always waited on her but eventually she would just get out of the truck and lay under a tree.  She is a fine old girl.  She is like a shadow around the place, being quiet and absolutely asks for or demands nothing.  Last night she went out the dog door and fell off the steps.  I heard it all.. She just laid there on her side.  I picked her up and carried her inside petting her head all the time.  She stood and all seemed well.  It was then I noticed that her foot had a growth between two of her toes.  It was orange and red with a black center.  It appeared that a small cauliflower the size of a fingernail was growing there.  I remember seeing a wart on that spot that she carried there for years.  Older dogs get them.  But I fear the worse for her.  If my suspicions are confirmed; then my heart and soul will do battle with common sense and practicality.  I love old Sigh.  She, otherwise, is like an adult puppy often bouncing up and down when a treat is offered.  She sometimes walks over to me for a scratch behind the ear.  But mostly, she just lays in the shade outside out of the sun.  Did I say I love her?  There are many paw prints on my heart but, Sigh has placed very, very deep ones there.
I sometimes wish I had a movie camera but, my real pleasure lies in still photography.  I like to stop the moment.  The photograph can be studied.  It can be referred back upon for whatever purpose.  The moment can be remembered when reflected upon years later.  Someday someone will eventually discover this treasure I call the ruins and will change it forever.  It is inevitable.  And, I think it will be in my lifetime.  I will have the precious photos to show how it once was.  This is East Tennessee and everything rich in natural beauty is bought, sold and eventually built upon.  There is nothing sacred in this part of the state when it comes to the almighty dollar..  The only place that can not be touched is The Great Smoky Mountain National Park.  I would put the Joyce Kilmer Memorial Forest right up there with the National Park on the safe list.  The rest of it will be an extension of Knoxville eventually.  It almost is now.
The sun is hot.  I long for that camp space beside Slick Rock Creek where the air is cool and comfortable.  The sound of constant tumbling water, relentless, soothes the mind and the soul.  What a refreshing break from the daily routine and racket of social life!  But, it isn't too shabby here where I am today.  I just have to put things into perspective.  This is a different kind of beauty.  The views are gentle on the mind and I always have it to myself, and my kids.
The greens are vivid.  I wonder where I could take the dogs if it weren't for this place.  Oh, we go to the East Coast Hiking Trail that follows the shores of Tellico Lake.   Sometimes there are people walking that trail and all of them do not like dogs.  This ruins area has been a salvation.   I used to park the government boat back here when I worked for Tennessee Wildlife Resources.  One day a friend and I simply drove down the road that disappears into the lake just to see what was back here.  That was the start of a wonderful relationship between this beautiful wild area and myself;  and, of course, my dogs.
Shade is such a goof.  She is like a small child, never taking anything serious.  The world is a playground to her.   Thank heaven I found her when I did back then.  She was destined for a miserable end.  I was in the right place at the right time.  And yes;  I love her also.  She will be with me the rest of her life.
Douglas waits in the shade of the big tree.  He is always off by himself.  He takes after his dad.
One more little video of the ruins follows and finally one of the kids having a good time.
 I  took a little break from this entry and mowed the grass.  Back by the fence I came upon the place where I lay Julia.  The spot is not hard to find.  The grass grows the greenest there.  Nature has blessed ancient Julia with a blanket of the most vivid green.  She nourishes the natural world with her splendor as she did every human, kind enough to take notice of her when she was here with us;  and that wasn't many.  The old ones have paid their dues.  Hopefully they grew old in a good life but, many live horrid, painful, extended existences caused by uncaring humans. I want them to enjoy continued bliss and the easy life.  It is so hard to let go of the old ones.  I didn't have Julia long.  She was a joy when she was here.  And,  I miss her dearly.

And finally;  the kids having a bit of fun.  Douglas is missing as usual.  Off under a shade tree alone.
That's it for now.  Back to the salt mines tomorrow.  Wonder where that term came from.  Salt mines----Wonder what they pay there?  Sounds like an honorable profession.