is a left turn out of the county's only high school, and I swear too many of my students have made that walk--no wheels allowed-- through a tunnel dark as any broken promise ever made. But even a broken promise leads somewhere. I heard once that devils worship there in that length of blackness-- stories only, I'm sure. But I know a couple lovers who made love for the first time at the tunnel's top where grasses grow and know nothing of somewheres and nowheres and the heavy hollow below; I suppose that is a worship of a kind. Pass under. You won't see your feet, but you can still follow them until the daylight star at the tunnel's end gapes wide from white to a whispering green that breathes a cool and mellow invitation. You'll find it isn't an ending or beginning but an opening-- a splintering of trails through mountains older than promises, givings, and takings. Follow one for awhile; the ground is soft there.
*For a brief history of Swain County’s and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park’s “Road to Nowhere,” read here.