Thursday, March 23, 2017

Stone Mountain Park

Stone Mountain rises out of the woods east of Atlanta like the sun appearing above the horizon.  Its quartz dome is the centerpiece of Stone Mountain Park where Tim and I were parked last weekend.

The park not only offers the campground but also encompasses a golf course, an amusement park, a short train track and more than 15 miles of hiking trails.

Indeed, this campground has made our Favorite Campgrounds of 2017 list.  Either we are doing a better job of researching places to camp or we've had the luck of the Irish.  Regardless, it's going to be difficult to pick Number One next December when we post our year in review.

A full-size locomotive from the 1940s pulls open-air cars on a five-mile excursion around the mountain.  Though we were tempted to climb aboard, we virtuously decided to save our money and get our exercise instead.

So we stepped across the tracks to search for the trailhead to the Cherokee Trail.  

Like the locomotive, Cherokee Trail also circles the mountain, but because it winds through the woods and along the lake, we saw few other hikers.  

But what we did see was a gristmill,

with its waterwheel and 

its trough, 

And the Confederate Memorial Carving that portrays President Jefferson Davis and Generals Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson.  Gutzon Broglum, the same man who later conceived Mount Rushmore, was commissioned to create this carving.  Now, Tim and I can say we've seen both of his monumental works.

Oh, and did I forget?  There were trees--lots and lots of skeletal trees pared down to their stark winter beauty!

Later when we returned to the RV situated at the edge of Stone Mountain Lake, I searched Google for a poem that spoke of winter trees.   

I found two that I liked.  One was this poem, Bare Tree, by a favorite author, Anne Morrow Lindberg.

Already I have shed the leaves of youth,
stripped by the wind of time down to the truth
of winter branches.  Linear and alone
I stand, a lens for lives beyond my own,
a frame through which another's fire may glow,
a harp on which another's passion, blow. 
The pattern of my boughs, an open chart
spread on the sky, to others may impart
its leafless mysteries that I once prized,
before bare roots and branches equalized,
tendrils that tap the rain or twigs the sun
are all the same, shadow and substance one.
Now that my vulnerable leaves are cast aside,
there's nothing left to shield, nothing to hide. 
Blow through me, Life, pared down at last to bone,
so fragile and so fearless have I grown!

The other was a children's poem that tickled my fancy.  I've typed its couplets separately below.

Winter Trees by Geoge Szirtes

Aren't you cold and won't you freeze,
with branches bare, you winter trees?

You've thrown away your summer shift,
Your autumn gold has come adrift.

Dearie me, you winter trees,
What strange behavior, if you please!

In summer you could wear much less,
But come the winter--you undress!

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