Smoky Mountains in late-winter. Still the weak, watery light. Crisp, thin air. The Smokies look like they’re shaking off a long sleep, just waking up.
But if you walk into the woods, there are definite signs of awakening life. Yesterday I drove out into the Greenbrier area and turned up the road towards the Ramsay Cascades trailhead. Just past the last bridge before the trailhead parking area, I pulled over. There’s a large flat area there that was once someone’s field. Walking back a ways further I came across an old rock wall … more indications of the old homestead. Hundreds of Bloodroot and other wildflowers were popping up all over the forest floor.
This is one of my favorite times of year. The woods are still wide open and free of overgrown weeds, so it’s fun to just pull off the road and take a walk anywhere without being on a trail. And the sense of new life and the beauty and wonder of springtime is very powerful. The cycle begins anew.
The other welcome awakening this time of year is the return of vacationers to the Smokies! If you are one of them, please consider a visit to the Arts and Crafts Community along Glades Rd. in Gatlinburg. You’ll find my complete display of Smoky Mountains scenes at the William Britten Gallery, and there may be a special photo to remember your time here.