After a series of deaths among my group of friends over the last few months, recently we escaped to the mountains of northern Georgia for a few days to refresh ourselves, and to remind that the earth has a way of renewing—it’s called Spring—that allows us to bury the wintry chills and recall the wonders of all that surrounds us. We rented a cabin near Hiawassee, Georgia, and delighted in being remote from our usual activities in stressed, congested Atlanta.
After finding a good branch to serve as my walking stick, each morning in the dark I hiked the hills around the cabin. Although all of the cabins in that area had names with “bear” in them (Two Bears Lodge; A Bear’s Abode; Big Bear Heights) I didn’t spy any bears, but I did startle a pheasant one morning, who half-flew, half-hopped away from me to a nearby reserve, unpeopled.
One afternoon we explored the highest peak in Georgia, Brasstown Bald. A video presentation at the attractive site explains how the peak changes during the seasons, how the climate on the mountain resembles Massachusetts rather than Georgia, in the way temperatures fluctuate and precipitation falls. It seems a strange fact, to find a piece of Massachusetts lurking above Georgia in the clouds.
Another day we toured the campus of Young Harris College, proud to see another generation engaged in higher studies in a beautiful environment where it can nurture ideas and be creative.
Death colors each of our lives, but it remains for us, the living, to appreciate what nature teaches us in its endless process of renewal and rebirth. Change is the nature of our existence, and no one escapes. That seems right as we cycle through our lives to an ascent where we lose ourselves in the clouds.