~The path hemmed and hawed its way through tree lined latticework, mountain laurels and magnolias, bloodroot and bluet crowding for space in the meandering dirt and stone strewn expanse. Larger rocks and stray boulders some cleaved in two stricken perhaps by lightening or from earths great hellish heaving’s during some long ago terrestrial cataclysm and then pitched down the hillsides hither and yon to stand randomly like sentries from another world. Marauding old and twisted knees and elbows of larger trees broke up and through the surface of the lane as if requesting help, pleading their case.
An occasional glimpse through wrecked and fallen timbers displaced a thick and gauzy haze exploding heavenward from out of the earth itself, silent, erect and vertically swirling, smoke-like apparitions, the ghosts of morning dew, damp fire pouring forth from the dawn of the newly baptized day, as if the mountains themselves were aflame and retching out some demented and forsaken anguish.
The beaten trail worked its way through the densely forested mountains up and down breaking left and right so abruptly at times it seemed to be creating its own unique glyphs on the surface of the hillside, writing prose that no one save aliens could cipher.
Wild birds braked and belched forth from behind fallen lichen and moss fluted logs as if flung out of the worm festered loam and scattered skyward to look abruptly earthward in speculation at some ghastly miasma upon the downward scape.
Great infestations of flying insects swirled haphazardly about creating gray and transparent curtains, gnats and no-see-ums, mosquitoes, horseflies the size of half dollars, spotted moths with great cat’s eyes painted on their diaphanous wings. An intermittent ground squirrel labored away collecting meaty shelled parcels from beneath the crashed down limbs of fallen oaks.
The grisly half eaten remains of some obscure beast wedged up under the scree of a large bolder, it’s gnarled head gazing out towards the path as if requesting assistance which had never arrived, its final story earmarked here forever a mystery, its only witness long since vanished back into the thicket.
The trail stretched on and on for uncounted miles its history rich and much forgotten. Its recent travelers mostly of the four legged or no legged variety and seldom seen by the men who now used it for hiking or jogging. These hikers and joggers themselves really no more than local touristry steadfast in their belief in some notion of regional sustainability and their own godlike stewardship towards it as if the land needed some divinely human saving from itself. Like penitents seeking their own salvation through the saviorship of that which came before them and would ultimately see them dead beneath, their ecclesiasticlike musings shuttered beneath the grounds which they had the audacity to think themselves the wiser of.
In times gone by Creek and Cherokee had scrambled up and down these forested highways in search of food and wood for their fires. The ancients before them a disremembered and alien lot, savages, ill clothed hooligans from another time, disheveled and as animal like as the species that they scavenged for in the surrounding woodland. Skirmishes fought with rocks and staffs of hardwood, sharpened flint stone and animal thighbones. Territory battles, their outcomes long ago decided, had raged up and down the beaten way since time forgotten.
This the newest Age of Modern Man now seemingly at the helm and much like the savages before him certain in the knowledge that his stewardship the cleverest of the Lot. Time and weatherworn these thoroughfares which were carved out of their terrestrial pinning’s took hold and many a man and beast who’d trodden there before and would surely come later mused about their bitter place upon the land, their role, what their great contribution should be. The legacy of the land was the land itself and the people and animals who traversed the plane of it were but a blemish, some eruption of activity to be tolerated until some newer Epoch emerged from the chaos left behind from that which came before it still.
….On and On and On again~