Skip to main content

A Place of Unrest

There are places that I have come across while exploring wooded areas that are beyond explanation. Whenever I find myself in such a place, I often wonder what it is that causes me to feel uneasy, as if there is some sort of unrest due to something that had occurred there in the past. Could it be that it's all in my head, that I've watched too much TV and have let my imagination run wild? Or is it something else?

A bit of a disclaimer here: I don't particularly believe in ghosts or anything of the sort. But I would entertain the possibility of a traumatic event having an impact on a place. I've heard stories about battlefields, such as Gettysburg and Chickamauga, or even the Alamo. My wife gave an account of the overwhelming sense of sadness she felt at Arlington National Cemetery. These are all places where great tragedy and loss has been a part of the history, and the ghosts, real or imagined, have remained.

There is a certain spot up on a mountain between Glassy and Hogback in the Dark Corner that I found while hunting one late November evening. Half-way up a trail that crosses  the top of this ridge, I entered a clearing where most of the trees had died and we're lying on the ground like gray skeletons. There was nothing growing there, except moss that carpeted the ground in places, and the fungi that was feeding on the dead timber. But the dead trees and mushrooms wasn't what bothered me.

Just up the hill from where I stood was a overhang, a rock shelter. I knew from the stories that I'd heard that bootleggers once used these shelters to house their materials like sacks of sugar and yeast. There was a hollow oak tree, possibly the biggest one that I have ever seen, in the flat where I was standing. It looked dead too, but it seemed to be standing guard over this place. I stood there and marveled at its height and girth, and then this strange sensation came over me that I couldn't explain.

It wasn't like I was being watched, it was just that I felt that I shouldn't be looking around up there. I found myself looking at the ground more than anything. I couldn't bring myself to go on up the hill toward the shelter like I had originally planned. It was like I was trespassing in a place that was off-limits to the living. Though the hair on the back of my neck was standing up, I wasn't really afraid. I just knew that something was not right.

I felt that something had taken place there, something besides making corn whiskey. On that particular piece of land, there are many remnants of old still sites, as there are all over the Dark Corner. That's not  unusual for that area.

Perhaps someone like myself had once wandered up there and didn't make it off of that mountain. Or it could've been some sacred spot for the Cherokee that at one time inhabited the area. Possibly there was some tragedy that took place on that mountain, many years ago. Whatever it was, I felt that something was letting me know that it would be best left in the past.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Survival: For Real

In my library, I have several books on foraging and survival skills. One of my favorites is Camping and Woodcraft by Horace Kephart. There are many guides of edible and medicinal plants, water purification, and magazine articles on shelter building skills. But having all of this information at my fingertips doesn't do me any good if I don't get my hands dirty from time to time, practicing these skills. Not only does it make me feel more confident in the woods, but it is a lot of fun, too.I would like to think that if I had to, I could survive and provide for my family from the woods and waters around here. I could probably kill plenty of squirrels or catch enough fish to feed us for a little while, but it would be a full time job, especially with a wife and kids.On The Fourth of July, though, I witnessed something that gave me a whole new perspective on survival-- actually watching someone having to forage for food on the streets of Greenville. This is what I like to call A Ch…

A Letter To My Father

Two years ago, this very night, you were still here among the living. You had no idea of what was to come in the early hours of the morning, but I know you had some inkling. You'd been talking about it for a while, and the Sunday before, I was told that you 'd made things right.Your mind and body were weak from fighting to hold onto your spirit, but your spirit was so much stronger, and it was determined to be set free. Your pain would soon be over, but you liked to fight, always did. You were the most stubborn human being that I have ever known, and I know that at the end, you were no different. I'm sure it wasn't your choice to go, despite all those times you cried, saying you wanted to die and be put out of your misery. When the medics had worked so long on you and decided to give up on you, your heart started back beating, as if out of spite.  I wonder sometimes what those last few hours were like for you. I wish I could've been there for you, like all the time…

After Dark

I stayed up way too late last night. Chase called on his way home from work and told me that we were going catfishing. That's usually how things like this begin.

My brand new son- in- law Bryan was going too, although my daughter wasn't crazy about the idea. No worries though, she would stay at our house and await his return. She ended up asleep on my side of the bed until we got back. Apparently, their agreed upon curfew was 11:30, and he did his best to keep it despite Chase's nudging him to stay longer. My son has no concept of time when it comes to fish, whether they are biting or not.

So there we stood in the dark, on a bridge that crosses the Tyger  River. Every creature that flies or creepeth upon the ground was out. The noise from insects and frogs in the surrounding swamp was deafening. Chase was our catfish guide. He'd brought all the rods, bait and any tackle we might need. Chase's bait of choice was chunks of chicken breast marinated in his secret formu…