Finding Nature! Road Trip Amicalola Falls

In  June, I took an impromptu road trip through the state of Georgia. Unlike Virginia, I knew very little of the back roads, paths, rivers, creeks, state parks and landscapes Georgia has to offer. And i was in “need” of some form of Nature relief so I packed my trunk with what was initially a ‘day trip’ turned into a 3 day adventure from Augusta to the mountains of Amicalola Falls to the coastal marshes of Tybee Beach Savannah Georgia. I wanted to search the waters of Georgia and to feel out this land and its historical past. The past of my father’s ancestors and find more connection.

Amicolala Falls, Photo. Daria Takharu. 2016.

The tallest cascading waterfall east of the Mississippi River. The “Tumbling Waters” (Cherokee), Amicalola Falls, Georgia. Photo. Daria Takharu. 2016.

I was in my last week of my fitness program and surging full steam ahead.  Emotionally I was feeling drained from the mundane and needed a “Soul+filled” experience centered around Nature.  As a child, nature had always shared with me a glimpse into a kind of symbiosis – a deep healing thankful breath and whisper at the trunk of trees,  a hug or thankful smile I might offer for simply being in its presence,  extreme gratitude and love for each variety of species my eyes would discover.  Nature had taught me to meditate when I was just eight years old turning inward from a very highly emotional dysfunctional family environment I learned that inward breathing not only slowed my nervous system but awakened me to the wondrous world around me. Nature was my ally, teacher and church. And throughout my adult years, I would always find my way back to her /him when the modern world whirled in confusion and left me feeling anything but centered in peace.  So I put on my workout gear, packed my car, filled my gas tank and set out for the unknown.  A mini road trip into the mountains of Georgia was calling me and off I went.  GPS set for Amicalola Falls through Dawsonville, through Etowah country,  through Dahlonega country, in the Chattahoochee National Forest, through Cherokee Native American land. And with all the markers and talk of the Appalachian Trail I instinctively knew without having to google or search an internet keyword that some historical atrocities had taken place where I now stood.

 

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Road Trip to Nature. June 2016. Photo. Daria Takharu.

Road Trip to Nature. June 2016. Photo. Daria Takharu.

I was later reminded I was in Cherokee and Yamasee indigenous land. Ive always been a ‘special’ child with ‘special’ vision you can call it bit psychic with much empath intuitive gifts.  As  a child I could tell you insights into the future, see events of past, present and future but as an adult these gifts became more like a burden and I closed them off to mere feelings and visions rather than visits or direct talk with the dead or other shamanic abilities. Perhaps this was in my own folly at not truly recognizing my own unique gifts and empowerment. Or that such “gifts” could in fact be used  to serve humanity and help others but as I was drawn into the norms of working society ideas of shamanism closed to day to day survival for my family.  And an age old tradition was closed off (for a time) by smaller bursts of these mystical ‘insights’ and flashes of ‘truth’ and visions and dreams that connected me to Indigenous tribes, communities and healers who in the Dream World showed me miraculous secrets of the world we choose to be blind to in our day to day mundane tasks.  But here I was being called by “spirit” once again to a place unknown to me in this lifetime to AmicalolaTumbling Waters” as the Cherokee called it. Where I later learned was also part of the Trail of Tears.  Dahlonega  the “Gold Rush” town in North Georgia was in fact a starting point for this push off, out and onward toward Oklahoma  where over 20,000 Chicksaw, Creek, Cherokee, Seminole, Choctaw, Muskogee and other tribes and Black and Brown people of color walked and perished between 1830 and 1850.

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What I felt and saw were brown and black people (ancestors) traveling the most rugged terrain and extremes during very difficult oppressive times in America. These Native Americans and Free Blacks and escaped Slaves who were forced to leave their homelands for the unknown—those who made it and those who died along the way! In some ways, I  could feel their agony and others their resilience.  The deep lines of Americas historical extremes were strong in that national park once marked as  indigenous sacred land in a very different time. When I looked over the man made railing it was so steep that anything that would mistakenly trip would surely fall feets to its death. Only in movies like Indiana Jones or Romancing the Stone had I ever seen any type of terrain like this almost an amazonian type of depth with less dense forestry. Even in my native Guadeloupe rain forests and Soufrière mountains, I hadn’t (to date) come across land as steep in these Amicalola mountains 729-foot falls of the 829 – acre lands.   I was both enchanted and horrified simultaneously.

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Appalachian Trail. State Marker. Photo 2016. Daria Takharu.

Appalachian Trail. State Marker. Photo 2016. Daria Takharu.

I kept saying silently ‘this land is sacred’ looking up at the healing waters and wanting (naturally) to enter these waters to cleanse or even baptize my over burdened spirit. The duality of hatred of skin, race and culture carried upon the backs of these Colored Trail of Tears were embraced with a kind of unconditional ever-flowing love of Mother Earth and all her children flourishing upon the very deaths of those warriors, victims and survivors. As I witnessed both tragedy of the past and beauty of the present butterflies came to play and dance while Bees extracted nectar from blossomed flowers — each partaking in the rhythmic exchange of life! Such immense beauty exuding beyond the historical darkness.  And what struck me most were these seemingly opposing forces melded together in the harmonic essence within the forest. What was once tragedy was blissfully flourishing. And in this pristine well groomed well guarded space I realized and saw this for myself with my own eyes, heart and soul.

Bees and Butterflies. Amicolala Falls, Georgia. Photo. 2016. Daria Takharu.

Bees and Butterflies. Amicolala Falls, Georgia. Photo. 2016. Daria Takharu.

The Falls. Amicolala Falls, Georgia. Photo. 2016. Daria Takharu.

The Falls. Amicolala Falls, Georgia. Photo. 2016. Daria Takharu.

This Oak Tree. Amicolala Falls, Georgia. Photo. 2016. Daria Takharu.

This Oak Tree. Amicolala Falls, Georgia. Photo. 2016. Daria Takharu.

It was a hot day when I arrived in the Falls and miles leading up to the park were confederate flags hanging from homes and shops that not only caught my attention but spooked me into an uneasy “i better get out of here” type of vibe.  Although the park had lodging, I felt vulnerable and almost like prey in territory  I was unfamiliar.  It saddened me and I inwardly smirked that this kind of energy was so prevalent in such a  once sacred site. Within my being I knew that Native and Indigenous peoples came to this Falls for healing and sacred ceremony where steep mountains celebrated with the mysteries of the waters and birthed a kind of life and rejuvenation- this was Healing waters that I needed to taste, to immerse my spirit, my body to heal my mind, my body and soul and yet there were signs and gates everywhere telling us we could not enter that in a way we were not truly welcome.  And  it seemed more like these  “nature” energies were being held hostage then being preserved or even free.  It saddened me that man was not able to self-govern himself or his behavior from destroying this land and being at peace or one with it and had to have such drastic measures to ensure its ecological survival. But surely if he could not value human life how could this kind of mind and spirit value plant life or water life or air life? When truly they and we were (are) all one web of life. It saddened me that I didnt feel welcome on land that was once maintained and guarded by other brown and dark people who looked like me and members of my family.  This is the legacy that is kept alive in America for which it is paying for today. Instead of true healing and holding shame and resolve for its brutal past, the entitlement of such savagery is upheld as a tradition of pride and place in society among the diverse people of this land and country. In a way this is a perfect July 4 article raising questions to past present and the future of where our country is heading. There are the young and so many others  who wish for this country to move forward and beyond the mental, political, physical, socio-economic, racial hatred of the past and yet the underlying legacy of this indebted slavery upon which this country was founded pops up all over the place all the time reminding you sometimes subliminally but too often in your face front and center to the very core and heart of your being. It is like the dark satan we were brainwashed into believing to be flaming his pit of fire in the depths of hellish moments of time when the real demonic force is truly everything and anything that opposes life, love, liberty and the pursuit of  happiness, growth of  responsible technology, trees and the equilibrium of bees!

Forbidden. June 2016. Photo. Daria Takharu.

Forbidden. (Although park signs stated no one was allowed off the trail. I had the urge to sit near the base of the waterfall, find a spot and just put my feet in the water and chill. Much like I had done for years in parks like Rock Creek Park (Washington, DC) and Oak Canyon (Shenandoah, Virginia). Do what I came there to do which was ‘meditate’ and ‘heal thy self’ . I was approached by many people of many races and all I could do was smile in thanks and deep gratitude.) June 2016. Photo. Daria Takharu.

In my love of Nature and love of Man, I truly pray (affirm) that we one day come together in respect for our survival, equality and equilibrium in this very delicate web of balance of our ecological systems, monetary systems, health and mental body systems, technology and spiritual systems. It may not be in my life time but I am hopeful that these cycles the ancients spoke and wrote of will come to pass and this new age will lift the debts and burdens of our ignorant past into an true age of enlightenment in which the all thrives in more harmonic states of being.

In Love, In Light, In Courage, In Freedom! (happy 4th of July) 😉

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