Searching for the Pearl Harbor Tree in Cades Cove
by Rachelle Siegrist
Last Tuesday was a gloriously beautiful day, one of those that seems picture perfect, albeit a cold one! So Wes and I decided to take a day off from working in the studio and spend it in nearby Cades Cove. As we started around the 11-mile loop road, the first amazing sight was turkeys, lots and lots of them! While still relishing in the turkey sighting, we came up on several White-Tailed Deer, which were mostly big bucks! “Wow . . . this day is starting off amazing!” I thought to myself as I was photographing them.
It doesn’t matter that the park has posted signs warning visitors to remain at least 50 yards from all wildlife, there is almost always someone who just has to have that “Nose hair” shot, and such was the case the other morning, with these men who were out near the bucks, then suddenly found themselves surrounded by them. Hopefully that nose hair shot came out in perfect focus, and the bucks didn’t see them as competition!
After watching and photographing them for a little while, we ventured on to see what was around the next bend in the road. Well, you guessed it . . . more turkey and deer! By the end of the day we had counted around 75 deer or more! Soon it was lunchtime, so we found a perfect spot for our picnic. Thankfully the sun was shining, as it kept us from totally freezing up when the cold, crisp breeze blew!
Sitting under crystal clear blue skies, while enjoying the amazing view, this song came to mind . . . “I’m just sittin’ on top of the world, looking out over creation, and the only explanation I can find . . .” was obvious, we had simply taken the time to come and enjoy it all! Then and there I decided that this restaurant truly had a grand view! After suiting up, we started trouncing through the woods, searching for what we had come to find and see, the Pearl Harbor Tree.
On what was once the property where Golman Myers’ homestead stood, there stands a beautiful tree, straight and tall. After learning of the attack on Pearl Harbor via his little battery powered radio, Golman, who had two sons of draft age, went and pulled up a young sapling and planted it in the front yard. He placed an old metal tire rim around it to protect it from the mower, and told his sons “We will remember this day forever!” and he couldn’t have been more right. His two sons did leave to fight overseas, and although they both survived and returned home, sadly their dad died of a heart attack working on the farm in April 1945, as times were very hard.
This tree stands as a living reminder of the past, with the words “Pearl Harbor” inscribed on the back of the tag, and the metal ring still around the bottom, showing that the folks living in Cades Cove were certainly not out of touch with what was going on in the world outside their cove nestled in the mountains. Leaving the special tree, we drove a short distance and decided to hike up along the trail which leads from the trailhead to Abrams Falls to the back of the cantilever barn near the visitor center. There were sections along the river’s edge where the frigid temps had frozen the moisture in the ground, forcing it up, thus creating what I call “ice spurts”, which are absolutely stunning in the sunlight!
We walked along the river’s edge quite sometime before reaching the barn. Once there, we decided to walk back through the open fields while heading back towards the Abrams Falls trailhead. It was absolutely beautiful, and much of the time it felt as if we were the only ones in the cove, a glorious feeling indeed!
Sections of the fields were full of birds, mainly Song Sparrows and their chirping and singing was truly nature in surround sound! Leaving there we went and parked along Hyatt Lane, and later Sparks Lane, where we once again enjoyed walking in the vast sun drenched fields under clear azure blue skies. It’s places like this, that time somehow seems to stand still for a few moments, allowing you to just soak it all in, in all of it’s glory!
~ Currently On the Easel ~
I’m just starting on one of my latest paintings of a beautiful Chocolate Lab, which I plan to have done in time for the upcoming SEWE show in Charleston, SC. I’m also currently painting on a landscape with a cow for another upcoming show, as well as a commission of a handsome Spinone Italiano dog, named Splash. It’s coming along great and I’ll be anxious to share it with you when it’s done!
Wes has been working numerous hours lately while redoing our website to make it mobile friendly. The new site has a simple, clean, more modern appearance and will be much easier for you to enjoy, while exploring it and see our latest works and upcoming shows and events. I will certainly let you know when it’s all done and ready!
Until next time . . .