Saturday, 14 January 2012
'Cheaha: the high place', to credit one piece of optimistic tourist propaganda, suggests that it has ‘probably' the best view in the USA. Note 'probably' not 'possibly'. where possibly is a euphemism for ‘only’. ‘Only’, as in ‘only view of Alabama'. It is a good vista, a high overview of the complicated geography of low eroded, mounded, forested hills that mingle and mash together like a lumpy pudding. A topography that leads to a perpetual roller-coaster road that, like a stotting ball will bounce all the way to the great southern rivers. Steep slow climbs, fast near instant descents. No bends, the tarmac stretching long and far into the distance. Roads populated by hunters in day-glo caps, the occasional logging truck and barking dog. A road that progresses through an open, bare deciduous forest of denuded red oak and southern pine. Which in a summer’s full leaf, might become claustrophobic, is in this hibernating season, open and inviting. The elongated shadows thrown by the silver grey trunks seem to trap the cold of the early morning frosts, the slow rising sun, melting the glaze, forming railings of crystals that beat time to the flicker of the strobing light, and give a thin encouragement of impending warmth.
‘Cheaha’ the high point’ has one obvious attribute: it’s a mountain in a sea of mole hills. So like any other protruberance that acquires the audacity to reach above the surrounding plane, procures a comms tower of Transylvanian proportions. A stake to skewer a mountain.
'Cheaha- the high point', whilst not the physical start to this journey, does make for a good metaphorical beginning. It’s downhill, with lots of re-ascends to further highs, a rolling journey, with a search for the terminating, concluding 'Cheaha'.