Wednesday Katie and I went out exploring early in the day. We knew there was no sense sticking close to the hotel because the car wasn’t going to be ready. So we headed back toward Gatlinburg, hoping to find a trail that would keep Katie happy and some photogenic stuff for me.
This time I was more observant, and as I drove into Gatlinburg I noticed the blackened hills above the commercial strip, the hulks of huge burned out homes stark against the sky. The firefighters saved the blocks of restaurants and bars, pancake houses and fudge shops, wax museums and curio shops. But all around town, at the fringes of prosperity, was evidence of the fire that roared through last October.
It is heartbreaking. Especially when you realize that some of the fires were set by humans. And that so many people died. These were people’s homes, their possessions that lay among the blackened rubble.
And yet. It’s trying to be spring in Tennessee. Up through the blackened brush, the toppled trees, the crumbled walls bits of green are pushing through. Spring doesn’t recognize the devastation of fall. It just does spring.
After I wandered among some of the wreckage a bit I took Katie to a cool green path along the Little Pigeon River. I let her walk as long as she wanted, sniffing the fresh green. She loved it. I did too.
We’re ready to move on, that’s for certain. But I’m glad I had this day to see up close how nature heals. We have good news too. We got the car back from the dealership yesterday late afternoon. So today, as you’re reading this Katie and I are on the road again.