Thursday, August 9, 2012

Cold Mountain - An Interlude

Cold Mountain was the novel I was supposed to write. I have never felt more like some part of me had been taken and transformed into written word than when I grew to know Ada Monroe. Seldom have I been so transfixed through an entire book and devastated at a conclusion. I usually underline moving sentences to return to ~ or to pull for memorable quotes. Nothing is underlined in this book ~ there was no point in beginning because there would've been nowhere to stop. It is raw intensity ~ much like Wolfe's ~ and once again of the mountains of Western North Carolina. And once again, it is based on truth.

I began my search for connection at Petersburg. Petersburg is the site of the opening battle in the film, and I admit the crater scene was amazing. I was so disappointed they didn't film the movie on location, though (they took it to Romania instead). North Carolina has certainly proved to be more than an adequate mecca for movies ~ look at Last of the Mohicans, Nell, and even the train wreck from The Fugitive...but I digress.


My kindred cousin Marie and I toured Petersburg, and we were amazed at the remains of the crater and of the tunnel dug beneath it. The Union army decided that the only way to remove the entrenched Confederates and seize the heights above Petersburg to end the siege was to dig a tunnel under the "fort" and blow it up.

The entrance to the tunnel



While the explosion did, indeed, brutally dislodge the Confederates, the excited Union soldiers ran into the hole left by the blast and became fodder for Confederate bullets. You can still see the remains of the crater today.


The "real" Inman was author Charles Frazier's great-great Uncle. Family tradition holds he was wounded at Petersburg and deserted from the army to return to Tennessee and North Carolina. They say he was killed near "Big Stomp" by a home guard, and his father went to retrieve his body. Lore holds he is buried at the Haywood Cemetery in North Carolina. I hope to go there someday.

Perhaps the greatest discovery I've made, however, was quite by accident. I was traveling the Blue Ridge Parkway with a friend one day when I missed my exit. I was frustrated, because I had to go quite a way to the next overlook to turn around. I whipped my car into the pull-out ~ and then I slammed on the brakes and gasped. My friend had barely enough time to ask what was wrong before I was out on the misty mountain-top to take a picture of what the overlook revealed.


"Mornings on the high bald were crisp, with fog lying in the valleys so that the peaks rose from it disconnected like steep blue islands scattered across a pale sea."  
Cold Mountain

Synchronicity can be a very beautiful thing...

5 comments:

  1. Beautifully written. I haven't yet read this one. Seems I should having seen the film so many times.

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  2. One I haven't read either, firework. Guess the two of us need to get busy. If anyone can entice you into reading a great book it is Kenna. Her descriptions are beyond words. Thanks, Kenna, for sharing all your literary adventures with us.

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  3. I remember that awesome trip to the Crater! And that book...boy it stirred both of us up! I was besotted with it and The Black Flower during that time! :-) I'm so glad you saw the mountain because you made a wrong turn. Part of life's magic. A little delight in a world of pain....

    By the way, it's great that you got rid of the Word Verification! Just makes it a lot easier.

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  4. Marie sent me over she is a wonderful caring person.
    Thank you for the history lesson and fantastic photos. I love history and your account made me want to explore more about this.
    The book sounds great I must go to find it sometime. B

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  5. Marie sent me over she is a wonderful caring person.
    Thank you for the history lesson and fantastic photos. I love history and your account made me want to explore more about this.
    The book sounds great I must go to find it sometime. B

    ReplyDelete