Back in July, yours truly headed off to the Smoky Mountains for a couple of weeks of solo exploration. It was a much needed mental reset. I spent part of that self-restoration time shooting this tree as the fog rolled through Cades Cove after a storm. Standing in a field on Sparks Lane at dusk, I was treated to a feast of changing colors and light, creating a game of photographer’s peek-a-boo as I tried to capture the amazing highlights of the moody clouds and the fog wafting past this tree and the mountains.
A few weeks ago I got word that this remarkable tree succumbed to a storm. Probably viewed and photographed more often from it’s vantage point across from the Dan Lawson place along the Cades Cove Loop, I can’t venture to guess the number of visitors who passed it over the years. Some took the time to admire it, others barely gave it notice for the deer standing in it’s shadow.
As we Tremont junkies were lamenting its loss, we noodled on the connection between beginnings and endings as well as the impermanance of life. Whether you see its demise as a beginning, an end, or a fleeting moment, this old soldier of Cades Cove will certainly be missed. So in order to celebrate its life and history, I thought it fitting to pay homage to this master of the valley here.
The poetry of the earth is never dead. ~John Keats
[UPDATE: I am so relieved to tell you that this fabulous tree is actually alive and well. It was it's cousin nearer the road that fell victim to the storm. So I'm torn between the melancholy of losing a different epic tree and relief that this particular tree is still thriving. And so it goes when we must cope with the sudden change a death brings...]
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