It was unseasonably warm on a blue north Georgia day in the middle of winter. I was racing sunlight, wanting to forever freeze a spot in time with a picture before dark. More important I wanted to hear the water talk.
I rounded a curve where the road turns to dirt and got the first breathtaking glimpse of a partially frozen Holly Creek. She wound her way off Grassy Mountain, tumbling through rocks and under a canopy of mountain laurel as she found her way to lower ground; water that hadn’t seen a human since she fell from a cloud and seeped into the mountains.
I parked and quickly made my way onto a trail that led down to the water’s edge. Like a breeze blowing over a glacier, the air got noticeably cooler as I neared her. Gray Squirrels took advantage of the softer ground at mid-day to dig up dinner from a winter’s storage already half consumed. They ignored me until I departed the trodden path and entered the forest, instantly transforming myself from passerby to potential threat.
I found a rock to sit on. Finally, out of cell phone and GPS coverage, I was in the draw that holds Holly Creek. The water was so clear that the sunlight glowed on the rocks below her surface; water creating a fresh, misty mountain breeze that moved along with her. I heard the guttural bellow of a lone cow echoing off the ridges that lay on either side of me –- must be near feeding time.
Chattahoochee. “Picture rocks” in the red man’s tongue who named it centuries ago. The sun set at a quarter till six and a deathly quiet settled into the mountains, except for the creek. The creek always speaks, if we but listen.