Friday, March 16, 2012

A Stroll on the Mountain

This has been a busy week and the temperature so warm that I have not finished the second part of our tour to the Paramount Pictures Studio. A couple of days ago we had to get up at dawn to drive to Atlanta for a doctor’s appointment. It is not often that we see the sun rise over Atlanta on a dusty morning.

Then today I had to get my driver’s license renewed. We made a stop on the road to take the picture of this wonderful old tree starting to bud out.

It was such a lovely day that as we drove by the mountain we decided to stop and drive slowly to the top. The last time we tried to walk up the mountain was last year in January, but it was hazardous because of the ice covering the snow. There has been no snow this year. Below is a picture of the road to the top of the mountain taken in January 2011.

I like living close to a mountain. In Paris I lived on a hill going toward Montmartre and, in suburban Paris, on the forest hill near St Leu la Forêt. In San Francisco I lived also on three hills, first Nob Hill then one near 17th Street and then Mint Hill. Now we live in West Cobb County which is northwest of Atlanta. We are only 5 miles from Kennesaw Mountain. It is a National Battlefield Park. I have driven on the road in front of the mountain or the one in the back of the mountain for decades – twice a day while going to work, seeing deer and even foxes at dawn or dusk. Now that we are retired we can stop and enjoy the mountain any time. This is what we did. Below is a vintage postcard of the mountain.

This is what I found out for those interested in geology: Kennesaw Mountain is nestled in the Piedmont geologic province of north-central Georgia. This province was formed between one billion to 300 million years ago through a series of mounting building events in the Precambrian to the early Paleozoic times. The name Kennesaw is derived from the Cherokee Indian "Gah-nee-sah" meaning cemetery or burial ground. The park is a 2,923 acre preserve for a Civil War battleground of the Atlanta Campaign. There are over 18 miles of maintained interpretive trails and a 1.5 mile road going to the summit of the mountain. We drove as it was quite warm and my knees were hurting. Once there after admiring the view we did take a stroll. We could see the Atlanta skyline in the distance, about 20 miles away (about 32 kms.)

From the other side of the overlook I could see the terminus of the Appalachian Mountains.

There were several people resting on the benches – some wearing apparel as if it were the middle of July. We talked to a gentleman with a cute little dog named Solveigh (the owner was originally from Norway.)

A great Civil War battle was fought on Kennesaw Mountain between the Confederates from the South and the Northern Union soldiers. It started almost 150 years ago on June 27, 1864 exactly. Union General Sherman sent his troops forward but the Confederates were dug in and his attack was futile. The Confederates won the battle and Sherman’s army suffered high casualties. I’ll have a post some time on this battle, but today we are just enjoying the mountain. Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield was authorized for protection by the War Department in 1917. Historic earthworks, monuments and cannon emplacements are preserved here.

There are many interpretative panels. People come from everywhere to visit Kennesaw Mountain.

Click on the picture to see better

We strolled on the path going higher on the mountain.

The cannons that were dragged to the peak of the mountain by the Confederates are still there.

Even just strolling up this path we cannot forget the battle. A historical marker explained about the cannons (the Northern Union troops suffered 3000 casualties that day.) Below are more cannons I passed by.

I sat on a bench for a while and tried to photograph two large birds riding the wind but, I missed them.

I could hear the whistle of a freight train below and looking at the sky – a helicopter was flying by.

There were no helicopters by this mountain in 1864, but the sky was the same, some of the trees, too. I thought that for someone who hates wars since I was a child in World War II where my father was badly injured (which changed our lives) it is ironic that our current house is less than 5 miles from such a historic battlefield and I see it almost daily.

If I had rubies and riches and crowns
I’d buy the whole world and change things around
I’d throw all the guns and the tanks in the sea
For they are mistakes of a past history - Bob Dylan

There are so many beautiful boulders and rocks dotting this hill. I wish I was a poet and could do the landscape justice by describing it with romantic imagery.

Before joining my husband I stopped to snap more early blooms on a couple of trees.

We looked some more at the panoramic view, the acres of land and open fields below. Reading the historical markers we could imagine how it would have been to watch Sherman’s army with its 100,000 men, 254 guns and 35,000 horses trying to assault the mountain. Then we slowly drove back down.

Down by the Visitor’s Center many trees were in full bloom. It has been like spring this week with temperatures around 81 degrees F or 27 centigrade which is unusual as spring does not start until next week. Our azalea bush in front of our kitchen window has been blooming profusely.

The ground is covered with violets. Even our herb planters are still green from last summer.

We stopped for a while by a small lake. Below is a vintage postcard of Kennesaw Mountain and a small lake.

I am not sure if this is the one we saw as now there are quite a few houses around it.

After we arrived home the clouds grew darker and it looked like it might rain.

As I started to write this post I could hear the cannons grumbling faraway and the sky in front of my window was turning red.

But no, the mountain was peaceful. It was just the distant sound of thunder. Now, the cannons are silent and the echo of the soldiers and horses is gone. There is just the mountain.

Day is done,
Gone the sun,
From the lakes, from the hills,
From the sky.
All is well,
Safely rest
Go to sleep, peaceful sleep
Safe in sleep.
Fare thee well; Day has gone,
Night is on.

(anonymous lyrics from Taps – circa 1862.)


Frances said...

Kennesaw Mountain has definitely been the site of many dramas. Some have been fierce and involved humans deciding who had the most power on a particular day.

Some other dramas, involved humans enjoying nature's beautiful gifts. Some involved other animals and plants joining together to keep the area a truly beautiful place.

Thank you, Vagabonde, for this post. It summons up many thoughts about various then's and now's, and whether we still have much to learn about how to live on this earth.


Anonymous said...

It's too bad that such a beautiful place has to have such an ugly history now. I love photos of old trees. Also the photos of the blooms are wonderful. Thanks for sharing your trip.

Rosaria Williams said...

We lived in Tallahassee for a few years, visited a bit of the South, learned a bit of its history. But what you are presenting is rich in details and history most of us never get to know.

DJan said...

Such incredible pictures of the sky and early blooms, VB. I enjoyed everything about this one, even the stories of the long-ago battles. All those cannons still there, looking like they could have been placed there yesterday. It makes me realize how much I long for a world without war...

Vicki Lane said...

Another wonderful post! I've never visited Kennesaw Mountain -- thanks for the tour. Your sky pictures are beautiful!

Thérèse said...

"...the guns and the tanks in the sea
For they are mistakes of a past history"
We sure do need to do a lot. Sad history which does not seem to help us understand the value of Life under the same grandiose sky.
Beautiful images witnessing the then and now.

OldLady Of The Hills said...

Beautiful pictures, my dear...Yhe Sky there is so "dramatic"...I LOVE that.
That Battle began on my Birthday...! Sometimes it seems unbelievable that The South and The North fought eavh other---And whjat a bloody war it was....!
Another fascinating post, my dear Vagabonde.....!

Cloudia said...

an enjoyable and important post!

Aloha from Waikiki
Comfort Spiral

>< } } ( ° >

The Broad said...

This post is so interesting. My parents home in Connecticut is at the other end of the Appalachians just by the famous 'trail'. I believe they are the oldest mountain chain in the world and were once taller than the Himalayas! The history of the American Civil War is such an almighty painful one -- sometimes I think it is still not over. Your photographs are, as ever, enthralling!

Kay G. said...

I have never been to "Gah-Nee-Saw"
Mountain but I thank you for taking me now and giving such great history about it. (Our son spends a lot of time near there, as he has many friends who go to college there.)
When we climb Stone Mountain, I believe that Kennesaw Mountain is the two humped mountain to the right of the skyline of Atlanta. Next time I am on top of Stone Mountain, I will wave to you! (I might even sing "La Marseillaise" in your honor!)

Anonymous said...

Excellent et intéressant reportage!
Bon week-end, Vagabonde!

Anonymous said...
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✿France✿ said...

Je viens de rentrer et je viens aussi de lire ton commentaire
je te souhaite une belle soirée
je t'embrasse

Perpetua said...

Vagabonde, your wonderful photos and interesting description do indeed do the landscape justice - and the history too. I only know the broadest outline of the Civil War and your post filled out a corner of its events very vividly.

Madelief said...

Dear Vagabonde,

I enjoyed the photo's of your garden and the beautiful countryside. It looks like spring is there! You already have blossoms on the trees :-)

Your Azalea has a very pretty colour.

Happy weekend,

Madelief x

This is Belgium said...

I always like to read and see the pictures to go along with it , about the country of my husbands folks !
bon dimanche

This is Belgium said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Pauline said...

Interesting to see and learn more about your part of the country. I always enjoy your posts - so interesting to see and learn more about your part of the world.

Barb said...

Dawn to dusk, a spectacular day for you. Such beautiful landscapes, both at your home and on the mountain. It does look like spring is in full bloom there!

Barb said...
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Pat said...

I have always enjoyed being 'the folks who live on a hill'.
Dylan certainly wrote some memorable lyrics.
By the way your photos do full justice to the historic landscape.
By the end of the post I could almost hear the thundering of the cannons too.
I hope your knees get better soon. I find they can take you by surprise when climbing the stairs for the umpteenth time.

My name is Riet said...

Always when I come here I learn so much. Thank you for sharing

Anonymous said...

*** Un petit bonjour en ce lundi matin ! Très belles photos !!!!! merci Vagabonde ! BISOUS !!! :) ***

Marja said...

Hi Thanks for your great trip again. We live close to the hills as well and I always feel on holiday when seeing them as in Holland everything used to be very flat. I love the stones on the hill and the beautiful flowers. My friend is in Atlanta at the moment so I think of her by seeing any picture about it. It must be a big city Au revoir vagabonde

Marja said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Mandy Southgate said...

*sigh* such beautiful photos. I miss living in a hilly area where there are stunning views from various peaks and mountains in the area. I used to go out of my way in Jo'burg to go right to the top of Northcliff Ridge, to see the views, and then all the way down again. London is very flat in comparison - how urban, you have to climb to the top of a building or monument to see any views!

Karin B (Looking for Ballast) said...

Bonjour ma cherie Vagabonde! :)

I am so sorry that I have not visited in so long. I saw your comments on Peter's Paris blog today (another blog I have not visited in a long while) and wanted to come to say hello. Actually, I have checked in on posts here and there, but have not commented in a quite a while.

Now I am having trouble commenting as those Bob Dylan lyrics got me all choked up and teary!

Yes, imagine such a now-peaceful-looking place being so full of war and death. It is really a juxtaposition with all those lovely photos of burgeoning spring.

I love that hills have attracted you all through your life (and my, you have journeyed a lot!). And this? "But no, the mountain was peaceful. It was just the distant sound of thunder. Now, the cannons are silent and the echo of the soldiers and horses is gone. There is just the mountain." This was so poetical -- I admire so much the way you finished this post. I envy your facility in more than one language very, very much. :)

May you continue to enjoy this spring season very much, Vagabonde. Here is a hug (American) and a bisous (French) for you from afar! I will be over near your childhood home tomorrow. I have a babysitting position for an Ameri-Canadian family who live very close to the Mairie of the 18eme (rue de Mont Cenis). I will look at the hill of Montmartre tomorrow and think of you.

Take care, V!

Ginnie said...

Spring is really popping out all over the place there, Vagabonde. But then, I remember this from my many years in Atlanta. Never in those 25 years, however, did I take the time to visit Kennesaw Mountain to take that trek to the top. Sometimes I'm amazed to think of what I never saw in my own backyard. Trust me, I'm not making the same mistake again!

Walk in New York said...

de tres beaux paysages, avec un ciel a me rendre jaloux.
Le mois de Mai est souvent un tres bon mois pour se promener dans NYC et Central Park est magnifique au printemps

Publicity ;o) Every Friday (and the Weekend), The Challenge "Walk In The Street Photography"

Jeanie said...

You are clearly in the spring, and how beautiful your mountain and all the land around it with beautiful trees and splendid signs of spring. We aren't quite that far along here in Michigan, but our unseasonable weather has brought out the daffodils, forsythia and some magnolia buds, so can the redbuds be far behind?

I so appreciate the history you share with us -- you are most diligent in your research and it is one thing that makes your blog such a treasure. Thank you!

Dee Ready said...

Dear Vagabonde, I sighed deeply we I finished reading your posting. The Civil War--like all wars--took life away from many young men who could have gone on and done possibly great things for the South and the North and our country. I wonder if in Afghanistan and Iraq there will be memorials to battles fought.

I've never visited a battlefield but your posting here made me realize that one's thoughts become deep and long and wide when we let ourselves imagine what went on beneath our feet and beyond our eyes. Thank you once again for all I learn from you.


Arti said...

Your post is visual poetry. You've conveyed your thoughts eloquently, and I thank you for sharing. I'm sorry to hear about your father's injury in the war. My dad was in WWII also, on a British ship as a Chinese navel exchange officer. It's a dilemma, always, regarding wars. But as someone growing up in Hong Kong, I couldn't imagine what could have happened if the U.S. didn't enter the war. We all knew about the Holocaust in Europe, but I grew up learning about the Nanking Massacre also.

Shammickite said...

You are very fortunate to live so close to the mountain. I know very little of the details of the American Civil War, having been brought up in England. Yes, we learned the basic story, but I don't know anything about the battles. I have often thought that it would be interesting to tour some of the battlefields. Perhaps I should start with Kennesaw mountain.
So you are having an early spring too. We are enjoying blue skies, sunshine and 25C.... very unusual weather for this area of Canada in March. We should still be around freezing with some snow on the ground!

Anonymous said...

*** Un petit coucou pour te souhaiter une bonne journée ! BISOUS Chère Vagabonde :o) ! ***

Ruth said...

The warmth feels nice, but it is worrisome. You had a nice visit up the mountain. I always wanted mountains growing up myself and loved them when I traveled in Europe. I am with you about war. I think it's time women take over.

Have a beautiful time with your grandson!

Dianne said...

that's some sunrise!
and so many lovely blooming trees :)

Friko said...

I am glad that you took a leisurely time to look around you nearer home. In times of trouble quiet reflection and taking in the beauties of nature can be quite calming to the spirit.

Your photos are lovely and the skies exciting.

Jenn Jilks said...

An amazing tour. How wonderful.
You've illuminated a difficult time of war.
Well done.
So glad to be on the Internet again. We were down...
Greetings from Cottage Country!

Olga said...

I love to travel with you. I really like your comments, because they are very original and individual, just like your posts.

snowwhite said...

The series of photos are beautifully telling me the story and history.
Bob Dylan’s words are moving and so true.
It is interesting to know the origin about Kennesaw, because in Hokkaido, northern part of Japan, there are a lot of names left based on Ainu language who are indigenous in Japan.
As Olga said, I have always loved travelling with you!
Have a great week!

claude said...

Encore un beau et intéressant post, Vagabonde. Et que de belles photos.
Cela me rappelle un peu les virées que nous faisons avec Julia et Larry (tiens ce dernier est comme le Monsieur du petit chien, d'origine Norvégiène)
Les cannons, vestiges d'une guerre stupide pour un jeune pays.

Al said...

Nice shots and an interesting post. I also like living near a mountain - some would say I live on a mountain as our house is at 7,500 feet elevation. But we don't have any history like that nearby.

Pondside said...

It is so strange to visit a former battlefield, now peaceful, even pastoral. To see the flowers, the cyclists and hikers, the signs of leisure everywhere - one has to come to the understanding that war is a terrible waste.

Elaine said...

Lovely post! What a delightful spot to spend the day.

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