As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler; solitude will not be solitude, poverty will not be poverty, nor weakness weakness.Henry David Thoreau
When life was at its most complicated (What, was that only a month ago perhaps?), we found that time spent in Cades Cove in the Great Smoky Mountains, not far from our home, added simplicity and perspective to our daily lives.
Settled in the early 1800s, Cades Cove became much of what it is today: a source of beauty and inspiration as well as a place of livelihood for those fortunate enough to live there. For us, it may be a romanticized form of simplicity since life back then had its share of rough edges for those living far apart and subsisting on their own ingenuity and frugality.
But for most of us today, a visit to Cades Cove means a time to simplify. When we want to unwind, we leave home early and, quite often in the fall when leaves turn golden, line up with other families along the 11- mile Cades Cove Loop. We stop pretty often — at barns or houses or vast fields — but also any time anyone catches a glimpse of rabbits, deer, wild turkeys or even a bear or two. Cars back up quite a ways while we get out and take pictures and point into the distance.
Simple homes have stood the test of time and tourism. Visitors are free to roam and imagine the slower-paced life; we, too, envision (romantically perhaps) the family gathered ’round the fireplace after a day of work, happy to be there and with each other.
On our trips, we almost always end at Cable Mill, built in 1867 by builder John Cable, where we gaze at the steady flow of water through the sluice and over the mill wheel to grind corn or wheat. Just the way it used to.
With all or most of us now confined to our homes during this time of coronavirus, we’re finding ways to simplify: we may not be building cantilevered barns or working the land, but we are also not taking for granted what at least most of us have — our homes, loved ones, and a genuine desire to pull together for the greater good.
A trip to Cades Cove offers simplicity and a chance to unwind near fields, forest, and streams.
The residents, however, have known the good life all along.
Bert and Rusha Sams
Note to visitors: Since the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is currently closed due to this period of social distancing during the coronavirus, Cades Cove is also closed.
For more posts on Lens-Artits Challenge #91: Simplify, head to Patti’s blog. And for more of these challenges, check out this upcoming calendar: