The Chimneys picnic area in the Smokies

Monday evening I was on the beach flying in a beautiful sunset sky.  Little did I know that bad things were unfolding in an area I visit several times each year.  Gatlinburg is just a little over three hours from my home.  My avatar image is my old 33 parked in "The Chimneys" picnic area in The Great Smokey Mountains National Park.  A wonderful place I have visited many times.  Seems I am always returning seeking the peaceful woods & stream.  Did it survive?  I arrive home Tuesday evening after hearing of the tragedy while traveling.  Looking at images on the web I see the haunting pictures of the burned out motel I loved to stay in when in Gatlinburg, The Riverhouse Motor Lodge.  Make memories while you can, nothing of man's making is forever.  My heart goes out to those who lost so much more.     SHBKF

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SHBKF

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And as volatile/non-permanent those places of meaning and stability might be, we all appreciate/need them. It can be a certain path (in a wide sense) for walking, a view, a (part of a) museum. Strictly speaking not even (non man-made) places in nature lasts forever - forests can be logged or burn (which is a part of a wildwood forest life cycle) and rocks can demolished or naturally be eroded and washed to the sea. Sometimes the memory of a place will have to do. I'd say that for my places of importance I visit them more frequently in thought than in real life. In a few cases I avoid visiting a place that have been much changed to preserve the memory of a place/period of life - like the house that I grow up in (that is no more). In a way to visit such a place (if it would have been possible) can be less important when you remember every bit of it.
I'm lucky, kiting has rather frequently brought me back to a POI (place of importance) that I'm much comfortable in. The place got a "family history", a "history history" (I got old maps that I studied from the area - most from end of the 18th century and onward), a personal history from all periods of life. And I just like that area.
Just before publishing this I searched for "Gatlinburg news". When searching in local media on this side of the Atlantic there were only a couple of rows regarding the fire, but of course a tragedy for those involved. Changes may come hard and sudden and I now better understand the tone in your image text.

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