Lincoln County Lost
What is there to life if a man cannot hear the lonely cry of the whippoorwill or the arguments of the frogs?
~ Chief Seattle 1786-1866, Duwamish Leader
I am forgotten though I am – still. My first memory was the cry of the whippoorwill echoing through the forest. Man came cutting a path through the trees. Many followed, some hunted then moved on, while others fell trees making homes. Some grew plants to eat; they helped and hindered each other, sometimes maiming or worse. Odd behavior, though I never judge, for I support all, including the fancy clothed soldiers with loud guns.
I am forgotten, though once I was used – perhaps taken for granted. The paths they cut wide started it. Roads they called them, roads trod by horses, wagons, and eventually the horseless carriage. Sojourners passed through, while others chose to stay-put where school and church bells ring. I got accustomed to the odd ways of man: ceremonial fires, weddings, barbeques, harvest time, and barn raisings. That made them happy. Sad, they became with sleepless nights when Doc So-and-So was summoned. With happiness comes sorrow – the cost of loving, someone said.
Man’s spirit belongs to the Creator, but it was me they turned to with farewell tears. I silently received flowers lovingly placed on the sacred spot – flowers they hand selected from my dress so elegant, but there came a time when I dressed in rags and faced abandonment. Prayers heard through the pines were for me. I witnessed trembling hands and broken hearts as they packed all they could carry. At least once, they looked back in disbelief, knowing they will never see me again. They moved the farewell markers with a shovel full of sacred ground to another site but left the remains.
Do not grieve for me, for I was not destined to cross the finish line. I bow to my fate. Early one morn, a squawking crow announced the change – yes, the water came submerging 72,000 acres. Only then did I realize – I cannot swim. Gone the croaking frog, gone the whippoorwill song, for the water was relentless and all consuming. Alas, the wooing winds blew peacefully, calming the new lake. You can see me only if you can imagine: no water there. Yes, I am alone. You may think me lonely, but I am not, for within my bosom are the remains of countless loved ones placed in my care.
I am Georgia, though now they call me Lincoln County Lost.