Tuesday, March 23, 2010

New Echota brings the spring

I celebrated this year's spring equinox with photographer Chuck Smith at New Echota State Historic Site (Georgia). It was a stunningly beautiful day to spend in such an eternal, peaceful place.

A few trees in the park have begun to flower, this one by the "middle-class" Cherokee homestead circa 1828, the same one I am standing next to in the first photo.

Beneath the pine, a turquoise sun, a cloud of calm...
the necklace I made with an orange heart charm from Jumping Mouse Beads in Ellijay, just up the Coosawattee River from here

In the print shop, Chelsea shares a copy of page one of the February 21 issue of the Cherokee Phoenix she just printed, then explains that it's from 1828, not a month ago! (This was the first issue of the first Indian newspaper of any Nation, and was printed in English and Cherokee and edited by Elias Boudinot. It is still in existence.)

Looking up at a picture of Rising Fawn George Lowrey in the Council House. (In 1828 he was the Assistant Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation, next under John Ross, photo beside him on right)

A piney forest behind the site is a fine place for a fawn, so get on your hooves and come on out!

For more information about New Echota: http://www.gastateparks.org/Echota

For more on the Cherokee Phoenix: http://www.cherokeephoenix.org/

All photography by Chuck Smith (GA Aviation Photography) 2010
Special thanks to Chelsea, David, Yvey, and Will at New Echota.

To the season!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

from a Broken Bridge, Sweetwater has never seemed sweeter

I've been thinking about ruins lately...
A trip to Sweetwater Creek State Park on the cusp of spring, a tear drop shed as I entered for hearing that amazing sound of rushing water not fifteen minutes from
my home. And though it's warm, the trees are still bare, so there are so many clear views of the river all along.
The trail to the mill is well-traveled, so this time I chose to walk upstream, in solitude except for occasional joggers and dogs fo
llowed by tag-along men. I'd heard people talk about a bridge here, but I didn't see one, surprising given the lack of leaves. Then around a bend and under a mess of debris and fallen trees:

"It was September's flood that broke this bridge...
the hard work of 15 years by the Army Corps of Engineers!
a mass of green steel beams torn and thrown into the stream.
no human touch, only the hand of nature."
A jogger tells me this as he passes the ruin for the first time. It's going to change his route, he was expecting to cross as many others do.
Who would have thought, from a creek so Sweet, renewing itself again?

This could be a microcosm of the experience for those who lived through Hurricane Katrina, like my friend from Mississippi with whom I shared this story.

I sat on the concrete ledge which once was the bridge for a while, then as the sun was going down I walked down to the Mill area. Later in the day it's not so crowded and the rushing water over the shoals make for the best river experience
in metro Atlanta! There is some boardwalk and trail damage too, down here, where volunteers have been working to clean some of this up.
Here's a beautiful view of the river through the mill you can only see when the trees are bare:

I love this park and I will come here again as soon as I can!

For more information about Sweetwater, check out http://www.gastateparks.org/Sweetwater