Writer: Be Path Wise; choose the ‘mountain of youth’

Published 2:54 pm Tuesday, January 11, 2022

To The Editor:
I left Carter County, but Carter County never left me. To those moved to motor, be path wise like Robert Frost in a “path less taken.” But a word to the wise, refrain — like the virus — rampant parking lots dressed in bleak, hemorrhaging sidewalks and unschooled pedestrians. Take a glory road to Roan Mountain, Tenn., and for once spoil yourself with a lazy fog that flatly refuses to leave.
Enjoy balcony birds that give a free concert to the public. By mockingbirds who sing 24 hours a day. Squirrels with escape skills. A home for park deer to live without fear. A refuge for cloud art resembling Claude Monet. A reserve where traffic lights become Christmas tree ornaments. Idle picnic tables await food — freight and tea spills. Where the hard to please recognize Dollywood — clean restrooms. Notice tent space with marshmallow and wiener pits. Hesitate to violate young trees of tender branches with self-imposed sharp ends. Beware of rental cabins begging for happy feet. Observe grandkids who see a change in grandparents.
“Eye candy” comes in the form of virgin time which stands guard over unsheltered rhododendron. See the power plant as an antique shop; look but don’t touch. Aspire to explore umbrella paths that hide from the sun. Forest rangers and a park superintendent serve at a beacon call.
A “call to the wild,” come see what heaven looks like. A heavenly home where the devil is uninvited. Where clean air soothes battered city lungs. Do remember to summon the call to capture mountain beauty. Clearly the work calendar shrinks like cheap cotton after a visit.
History confirms Marco Polo in quest of the “Fountain of Youth.” The misdirected missed the mountain of youth. What a loss.

G. Tip Estep
Knoxville