I don’t know why I continued driving tonight. I struck out in the hopes of snagging some sunset photos. There was just enough dust and clouds in the sky I hoped it would be beautiful.
So I turned.
Down the road to the highest peak near me.
I’ve lived in the Smokies for over a month now… and today was the first time I took the road to Clingman’s Dome.
I knew immediately I would get no vibrant sunsets tonight.
Instead, it was like driving into another world. The clouds settled heavily around the road, giving the drive a surreal feel.
I pull around and park. I’m thankful that I thought to put on long pants (considering it’s been in the 90’s) and grabbed my flannel. And I started walking.
I’ve walked through clouds before… but there was something almost foreign about the trek up to the dome. I’ve summited many a mountain, some over 10k feet… but this was the first time the thin air got to me. Maybe it was the clouds, the added moisture in the air.
Like snow on the ground, the vapor absorbed the sounds of my footfalls, even the rustling of the leaves in the breeze. I could only see about four feet ahead of me in places. The fog was oppressive, and at least a little spooky. And even though I knew there wouldn’t be a view… I continued to the top. All the way to the observation deck.
I can’t tell you why my feet carried me there, but I’m thankful they did. Because on the way down, I heard the Mountain’s song.
You’ll often hear me humming on the trails. Nothing in particular… or rather… maybe it’s very specific. A song that I hear in my head. It’s different every time. It’s like the spirit of each mountain sings it’s own song. Clingman’s is proud and eternal. It builds to a crescendo in the wind and ends on a hanging note.
You’ll only hear my out of tune, quiet hum… but what I hear?
It’s a full orchestra. If I could compose what I hear… but then maybe that’s part of the magic. Part of the mystery. Maybe the song is different for each person.
I don’t remember the songs once I leave. Though a couple of times I recorded myself humming. I doubt I’ll ever do anything with them. The song the mountains sing are far more elegant than anything I could produce. I’d rather listen to them where they belong.