So I called Broom down from the roof, and we set off on a walk.
Yep, sure enough, there are those silent, brooding Smoky Mountains off to the south, and the trees with their limbs encased in ice.
Broom and I headed in the opposite direction, where a “development” is grinding its way into what was once a pristine landscape. But this is Gatlinburg, and the endless need for rental cabins must be accepted.
Broom stayed with me on the hike through this expectant landscape. I’ve seen a lot of bear tracks on these cleared areas of former woods, but have never actually seen a bear here.
Soon, if the developer can survive the real estate downturn, there will be over 60 cabins on this 20 acre parcel. Families arriving for their vacation, the place lit up at night like a small town. The truth of it is, and this surprises me, that I find these developments to be somewhat enchanting. It is true that they destroy pristine land, but that’s too simplistic to stop there and voice the usual complaints against greed-motivated developers. The Smoky Mountains, and Gatlinburg, reflect two sides of the coin: the Smoky Mountains remain pure and pristine, which is what attracts over 10 million visitors each year to the area. And the 10 million visitors create a fast-paced economy full of possibilities.
I guess I’ve come to terms with it, even come to appreciate the gaudy, boardwalk quality of downtown Gatlinburg. After all, whenever I want the majestic spirituality of the Smoky Mountains, they are there to experience as well.