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Saturday, May 12, 2007

Adventures on Lookout Mountain

Chattanooga…and the entire south applauds or more culturally correct, hoots and hollers. I made my way there last Wednesday and the work that I set out to do ended up being very small. The store didn’t need anything and so after driving those 2 hours from Murfreesboro, I ended up having a huge day to play around in. I rushed up to the famous Lookout Mountain. I heard all my life that you could see 7 states from its top. I wanted to see it for myself. (How this is proven is beyond me.) Somewhere up this mountain road I crossed from Tennessee into Georgia and I made it into the famous Rock City that is so heavily advertised. Rock City…I had to see it. They had all types of fairy-tale like names and places like a magical story book opened and popped-up into rocks and caverns. It was a Cinderella story set in a cave; but was a Rumpulstiltskin of a price. Oh no, I was not opposed to paying the price. I just wanted to liven up my visit a bit. It’s a bad habit of mine. Maybe one day a cautious wife will rid me of this tendency. –But no Snow White now, only dwarfish antics, You see, I have this habit of trying to sneak into places. I know…I know. It’s so childish. But if I am going to intrude upon a fairy tale kingdom, I want to do like it is done in the books, by cleverness and courage. I don’t want to pay to get in! Then the story loses its magic. The entire act is a puzzle that I have to crack. -A forthright adventure, and there is no one that can hop a fence and dart behind walls quite like I can.

So with little effort and with little strategy, I was in. I won’t even bother telling you how it was done, it was so eventless. I passed down through the Cavern pathway where dwarfs hung upon rocks working their mining and there entrenched in caves stood a portrayal after portrayal of different fairy tale stories. Then in the heart of the cavern stood a huge room where all the nursery rhymes from our cradle rocking days where acting out their tale. The cow was jumping over the moon, the old lady and all her children were playing before their large shoe house, little boy peep slept fast asleep in the hay, and Jack and Jill were tumbling down the hill that they so boldly attempted at climbing up. And yes, Jack’s broken crown will still hurt a year after. For they were all locked in time, their eternal calisthenetics as timeless acts ringing down eternity from generation to generation their plays being glimpsed by wide-eyed toddlers. I would stare at all the characters trying to get lost…to hear some faint lullaby of that world. For no one can daydream and be entranced by that wonderland quite like I can.

Then up to the mountain top and off in the distance 7 states are said to be spotted. But all this is pure speculation. As I was visiting the gift shop, I made sure to check with the manager there to see if they would all be interested in my company producing for them any T-shirts. This is the fun part of my job. In no way am I obligated to make any sales or further their business. I just tend to the business we already have. However, I am free to get business if I can. Lots of flexibility. And so the sky is basically the limit on opportunity here. So whenever a spontaneous idea occurs, I can run with it. I don’t see myself as a salesman at all. Just a good connecter. Besides, I would get really bored with my job if it only meant going to Walgreens stores and getting reorders. I need a challenge. A mountain to climb. And Lookout Mountain was just that mountain. Though every thing was casual. If they weren’t interested no sweat on my part. I walked into the manager’s office and we had neat conversations ranging from the founders of Rock City to mascoting (both she and I have been mascots before). She was the nicest lady and there was definitely some connection felt there. I didn’t bother to mention that I hade snuck into her park. Thought that might destroy any connection that was between the two of us. She was genuinely interested and I think we may have a future client on our hands. For no one can charm their way with complete strangers (at least when I force myself out of my shell) quite like I can.

Then leaving the park, and driving around the very crest of the mountain, I notice that there were hang gliding signs around. Hang gliding! How neat! I’ve never seen people do this before and I’ve always wanted to hang glide.….and maybe, if I’m very very lucky I can scratch this off of that things to do before I die list.. But the cliff side that I reached was only for experts. And like skydiving, you must go through a sort of training. It takes a lot of money and lot of time. Not something to just happen upon for an afternoon. But I watched and saw the hang gliders with a deep sigh charge off the pavement that poured into the sky and drop below just above the valley trees and then the thermal would, like a delicate hand, seize the hang glider and lift him up, up far into the dazzling blueness. There was one that was soaring so high, that he could barely be seen so enveloped he was into that great blue yonder. A vulture soared around thinking that he had either found himself some friends or, maybe, a possible future dinner. But what an idea to soar about on such a golden afternoon. So high and so free. I must certainly look more into this. For there is no one that wishes to fly into the sun-kissed skies quite like I do.

After this, I tried to sneak into another park. Just for the thrill of it. Ruby Falls. It’s this huge waterfall. I attempted to find it by following certain trails, but I couldn’t. Stupid me, I did not realize that the waterfall is no where outside but down inside the belly of the earth, some 1000 ft under my very feet.. You had to ride an elevator down and a guide had to be with you the entire time. I gave up on this idea. And went to another park. This time where a Civil War Battle took place. It was a pivotal point in the war. If the North hadn’t have taken over Chattanooga, then Gen. Sherman wouldn’t have reached Atlanta and razed the South. And therefore the Confederacy wouldn’t have gone through such a loss and who knows…the outcome might have been different. But probably not. I stand before you as a tried and true Southerner, but a Southerner that is willing to admit defeat 140 years later. (Something the South needs more of). On this fortress park. I met these country boys and one of their girlfriends as I was leaping from the top of the fortress to this rock below. This impressed them too much as one of them attempted the same leap. But his girlfriend objected and he had to take the easy route down to the edge of the cliff. Then I befriended these two country boys. And I became something of their leader. As we talked and I would do outrageous things on this cliff. And then they would half way try it and then abort the whole attempt. I taught them how to scale up the fortress wall. For no one can bound from rock to rock on high precipices quite like I can.

But then the sun was beginning its dive downwards and I wished to be alone to pray and meditate. And I couldn’t do it with people around. I know that this is contradictory. A person spends his day sneaking in and out of parks and now he sits down to pray. But I feel no apology is necessary. My conscience is at rest. I’m just a contradictory person. So I snuck off without the country boys knowing where I went and found another cliffside where that was directly westwards and facing the descending sun. And there I laid on the side of this cliff talking with my God. For to heck, with what I can do, for there is not a day, not an adventure, not a mountain nor a sky that one can fashion out for me quite like God can.


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