The Figures of Tellico Lake

I love to go at dawn to the edge of Tellico Lake. On the way, I can see the blue haze of Smoky Mountains. However, it is the gathering sight down on the east Tennessee water that I seek.

As the sun sneaks upward over those soft-looking Smoky Mountains, fog figures rise from Tellico Lake. I watch them as the sky silently pinks and little wisps of breeze come and go. The white risers remind me of the native peoples who once inhabited the bottomlands. Until recent times this was a river. I can only imagine it winding within the valley of grasses now covered by water. I stare at the steamy vapors lifting from the depths, phantom-like images dotting the surface of the dark green glassy stillness.

It is an amazing sight at dawn.

The fog figures cover the flat and shiny mirror of lake until the sun’s heat burns them away until tomorrow. They space themselves apart, but yet together….like warriors gathering, arranging for a hunt. They are silent, lifting upward, drawing toward the lightening and inviting sky. Whether anyone notices or not, they appear.

You would think it to be an eerie sight. It is not at all. Both beautiful and peaceful they flow smoothly upward slowly in columns of cloudy steam. And then dissipate into the brightness of the day.

I sometimes wonder if others can see them. Cars speed by on the bridge, but none stop. The cows on the far bank seem unaware of the ghostly presence. A couple of huge crows argue and are gone. A train rumbles in the distance. A squirrel violently shakes the farthest limb of an oak tree. The dew wets my shoes and soaks into my chilled feet. I view the apparitions, noting this is something both special and awesome.

The specters of Tellico Lake stretch skyward with their vaporous toes hovering and tickling the water surface at dawn, oblivious to the swarm of feeding bass driving a school of escaping shad to flip into the air. And I watch, as the people of the fog grow taller and taller, wispy arms linking upward to the growing blue. I am mesmerized as their touch with the lake narrows, thinning, as the heavens free them of the water. They glide lightly into calm dissipation. As the world awakes they slowly vanish before my appreciative eyes. Another day begins.