Yesterday morning I woke up to an unfamiliar noise, the trickle of rain. I opened the window immedietly and let the cool smell float into the house, cleansing the smoke and ash that had accumuated everywhere. Today it's still raining. I saw water in rivers that had been nothing but a trickle for months. I watched as the ground tried desperatly to soak up every drop that she could. But I fear it may be too little, to late.
As of yesterday the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is closed indefinetly. It's completely on fire. The black bears, rare wildflowers, elk and even our most precious brook trout are threateded and there's no hope in sight. People are risking their lives trying to stop what's happening. Four lost their lives to the flames, many more are injured.
This place, this park, my park is engrained in my soul. Being in it, I see a reflection of myself, the good parts that I need to hold on to, the parts I need society and man not to take away from me. Climbing up and over these hills there is a sense of calm that overtakes you. When you reach the top, look out over all of it, see the blue smoke, you know that you have accomplished much. You've traveled through the forest, the floor helathy and plantiful covered in moss. There are rivers you've had to cross, home to brook trout that have been here longer than any of the rest. Rocks line both sides, you boulder over them, wet with dew and river water. You've experianced her at her lowest and highest points. You've learned her lessons and met her inhabitants. You've felt her pulse in your veins and heard her cries through the elk in the distance.
But today the smoke is not blue.
Jacob is a fly fishing guide with a passion for conservation and brook trout. He is an accomplished rod builder and restorationist.
Jillian is an outdoor photographer and blogger, using her voice for Public Lands and Cold Water Conservation. She specializes in trying to out fish jacob whenever she puts the camera down.