Tuesday, 12 July 2011 11:26

Nothing but flowers

Written by 

Many years ago, I had taken some time off from my hectic and stressful job to go for a few days into the woods for a few days of silence.  So much noise in the city, so much heat from all the cars and smog and pavement, so many distractions.  I lived in Louisville, KY at the time, so I settled on the Great Smoky Mountains as my destination.  I'd never been there before, but I'd heard lots of stories of many wonders to be found from people who had been there before.

My research told me there would be many places to truly get away from it all there.  There were backcountry camping with sites that required multiple miles of hiking through hilly terrain to reach.  I could find a place with nothing but flowers, trees, plants, and animals to be my companions.  I went only with a large pack full of carefully-selected items, taking care to not overburden myself because I knew I'd be carrying it for a while.

I'd never been to the Smokies before, so I took the most direct route the map showed me - right through Pigeon Forge, TN as the last leg of my 6-hour journey.  It was creeping up on sunset when I hit a terrible traffic jam on the main drag through Pigeon Forge. 

The terrible traffic jam apparently is constant in the area.  The skies had just gotten dusky enough for the miles of neon lights to illuminate my view with a glowing spectrum of colors.  Mini Golf! Bumper Boats! Go Karts! T-Shirts $1.99! Kids eat FREE! For miles, cars were lined up bumper to bumper to indulge in every family-friendly consumerist pleasure that money can buy.  Ever onward to the horizon sprawled the manufactured plastic entertainment which seperated me from my goal - the solace and the silence of the forest.  I was cranky, tired, and getting ever worried at the lessening sunlight.  I was even more depressed at seeing so many people coming so very far to only be distracted by the cheap and the flashy, and I was pissed off that they were all in my way.

Somewhere along this strip, my mp3 player's shuffle mode chose such an appropriate song to play that I couldn't help but start welling up the tears as David Byrne's irony-saturated lyrics struck me to the heart. 

I finally got there, but I had to hike and set my tent up only by the light the flashlight I carried and the full moon above gave me.  The rest of the trek was exactly what I wanted, though: nothing but flowers.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=068AFYvd58E

Here we stand
Like an Adam and an Eve
Waterfalls
The Garden of Eden
Two fools in love
So beautiful and strong
The birds in the trees
Are smiling upon them
From the age of the dinosaurs
Cars have run on gasoline
Where, where have they gone?
Now, it's nothing but flowers

There was a factory
Now there are mountains and rivers
you got it, you got it

We caught a rattlesnake
Now we got something for dinner
we got it, we got it

There was a shopping mall
Now it's all covered with flowers
you've got it, you've got it

If this is paradise
I wish I had a lawnmower
you've got it, you've got it

Years ago
I was an angry young man
I'd pretend
That I was a billboard
Standing tall
By the side of the road
I fell in love
With a beautiful highway
This used to be real estate
Now it's only fields and trees
Where, where is the town
Now, it's nothing but flowers
The highways and cars
Were sacrificed for agriculture
I thought that we'd start over
But I guess I was wrong

Once there were parking lots
Now it's a peaceful oasis
you got it, you got it

This was a Pizza Hut
Now it's all covered with daisies
you got it, you got it

I miss the honky tonks,
Dairy Queens, and 7-Elevens
you got it, you got it

And as things fell apart
Nobody paid much attention
you got it, you got it

I dream of cherry pies,
Candy bars, and chocolate chip cookies
you got it, you got it

We used to microwave
Now we just eat nuts and berries
you got it, you got it

This was a discount store,
Now it's turned into a cornfield
you got it, you got it

Don't leave me stranded here
I can't get used to this lifestyle