Thursday, March 8, 2012



It is 8:30 PM and I just came in off the porch after enjoying a cup of hot coffee while watching and listening to  the rain pouring down.  A touch of melancholy had crept over me as my thoughts wandered back to some good times shared with my kids (dogs) at the old state park back at Tellico Lake.

The day started bright and sunny as I hitched up the Gheenoe and loaded Shade into the old truck for a trip to Chilhowee Lake and a boat ride to the old Scona Lodge site.  I wanted to beach the boat at the old trout pond and hike the service road trace to Mt. Pleasant Road that lay a few miles to the rear of Scona Lodge.  It would be a long hike.  By the time we arrived at Greenback - the wind came up hard and I thought better of launching the boat on Chilhowee, remembering the last launch on that lake in high wind.  I just didn't want to go through it again.  We had driven a long way and I didn't want the time wasted.  I decided to visit the old state park that I call the ruins.  I used to take the dogs there every night when I lived in those parts but, its a rare treat these days to make a visit there due to the distance.  It is one of my favorite places to visit in Tennessee.
I pulled off the main road and onto the narrow asphalt lane that dead ends at the back of the old abandoned park.  It felt like I came home after some long trip to somewhere.  Everything was familiar.  I know this little piece of ground like the back of my hand.  Shade bounced out of the truck and started her seeking routine as she always does.
The woods are coming alive after the long winter, displaying the beginnings of Spring color.  Flowers are changing the dull browns of winter into the happy colors of Spring.  The warm breeze felt good on my face.  No turned up collar was necessary to ward off the icy breezes of winter.  The familiar road that disappears into the lake was like an old friend I hadn't seen in a long while.  TWRA removed all the blown down trees that littered the landscape and made walking most difficult.  The tornadoes of last year left brutal scars in this area.
I watched Shade walking ahead of me and she looked so alone.  Of course, visions came to mind of my sweet golden boy walking beside her as he always did.  They, Shade and he, were inseparable companions for years.

How refreshing it is to be able to walk in this green forest tinted blue with the early blooms of spring!  It is an amazing contrast to the ugly brown mud banks of Douglas Lake where nothing grows and private property abounds beyond the edges of the water.  This is indeed a treat.

Shade was beautiful as she walked through the green areas along the roadway.  She would stop occasionally and gently touch a blue flower with her nose and inhale the fragrance.  I was amazed at that.  She was really enjoying the different smells that wafted to her muzzle from all directions.  The smells of wet reservoir mud were absent today.  I'll bet the feel of the cool grasses felt good to her feet.
The old ruins were just ahead.  To be exact - they are what is left of the old Carson home place better known in its day as Tuskegee Mansion.  I've been here many, many times with all the kids.
The carriage road that leads to the house
Beautiful walkway to the house
One set of steps of three that lead up to a porch that encircled the house.

I have posted several similar visits to this place of ruin on the blog.  The old park holds many memories for me and is an important place I hold dear to my heart.  This was a special place where Douglas, my golden boy and I shared our time together.  It was all about him.  It was always about him.  I delighted in bringing him here and watching him enjoy his life.  This probably won't be the last blog entry highlighting the old park and ruins.

He was so alert out here.  He loved to lay on the cool bricks of the foundation and constantly scan the area surrounding him.  Nothing got by those keen eyes.  Nothing!
I am pulled to the huge old tree like a magnet.  I can't believe it still stands.  The tornadoes of last year that blew through this place have allowed it to remain standing.  It was his favorite "go to" tree.  His pace would quicken when we walked into the yard area where the old relic stood.

Long ago, he had seen a squirrel scamper across the ground and up that tree only to disappear into the large hole in the side of the tree's trunk.  He never forgot it and would investigate the large hole with every visit

Douglas - even in your permanent absence, you are no less precious to me than when we were together.  I miss you boy..

I turned to find Shade and she was nowhere to be found.  No problem - I knew where she would be.  She and Douglas always left this spot and went to the lake.  It was like clockwork with every visit.  From the tree to the lake was the routine.
She just sat in the water - she seemed so all alone out there.

I believe she has adjusted to the loss of her friend and has now adopted me as her best friend.  But, there are those times that I can tell she misses her companion from the old days.  They were such a team together!  When working in unison, they were as one, and gorgeous to behold and a wonder to be admired.
 "Come on girl - its time to go."

"Gotta go Douglas.  We'll be back to visit with you soon boy."
They have spirits.  I know they do...