Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Liquid peace

My sister and I spent a whole day in the Greater Smoky Mountains National Park, and it was perhaps the most peaceful day I've spent in recent memory. I love my home, which is generally a peaceful place, but the park tops it by being not only quiet but soothing, the way the cool palm of a loved one's hand soothes a feverish forehead.

It will take several posts to tell you about that one day in the park, so let's start with the water features, specifically the creeks. There are designated places along the auto trails where people can pull off the road, park their cars, stretch their legs and indulge their passion for photography alongside a rock-strewn creek. The air is fresh; the sound of the flowing water is musical.

There are no rocky creeks here in Southeast Louisiana. Water here comes in large expanses like the Gulf of Mexico or Lake Pontchartrain, swamps dotted with cypress knees, or muddy bayous. The rocks in the mountain streams pictured here remind me of days spent long ago on the James River, near my hometown of Springfield, Missouri. I admire these Tennessee rocks for both their beauty and for the tender memories they evoked.

I wonder how many feet have waded across this narrow creek throughout its history, how many animals have stopped to take a drink. In my mind I see them, one by one, deer, raccoon, black bear, heads bowed as they take a drink, then raised as they slowly turn around and ease back into the woods.

The water looks freshest and coolest when it runs white and fast in its course downhill...

...but even in the flatter areas it bubbles as it flows.

I think we would have been happy to sit in one spot all day and watch the movement of the creek...

...but then we might have missed this little waterfall, the biggest one we saw. According to the guide books, there are several large, beautiful waterfalls in the park. Unfortunately for us, those are accessible only to hikers.

This is my favorite creek photo. I love the shadows cast by the tall trees, the sunlight that shines though those very trees to highlight rocks and leaves, and the clear, sparkling water that reflects the whole scene back to the heavens.


  1. I hope you brought a keepsake rock home!

  2. The sound of a babbling brook soothes my soul like no other sound!

    My sister spent one night of her honeymoon in a cabin beside a Tennessee brook. She says she's never spent a colder night anywhere nor a more heavenly one. The sound of the water made up for the the temperature and it was one of the peaceful nights of her life!

  3. I felt cooler just looking at the pictures.

  4. So pretty! I love the dappled light. I could almost hear the rushing water!

  5. I had a strange urge to go to the bathroom.

    I like the last photo, too!

  6. I can see American Indians in that landscape, maybe scooping water into their gourds or letting their horses drink.

  7. Laura, it was tempting, but we obeyed the signs. I'll have to be satisfied with photos of all those rocks.

    Holly, our first thought was that we'd stay in a cabin, but we no-spring-chickened out, being uncertain how secure they were. I'm sure it's a wonderful experience for younger, braver folks.

    Betty, it actually felt a few degrees cooler near that flowing water.

    Duly Inspired, it was the light in some of your photographs that made me realize how much the right light can add to an image. Thanks for that.

    Janet, lol, that's a reaction I hadn't expected, but I totally understand it.

    Nan16, thanks for planting that lovely image in my mind. I can see it clearly now that you've mentioned it.


Your comments might be the very best thing about blogging. I love it when you care enough to share your thoughts here, so go ahead and say what's on your mind.