Go Get Lost

February 2023. Photo by me.

The transition in late winter to spring during February is one of the best times in Georgia to get out into nature. The temperatures are mild on the sunny afternoons before the rains of March set in to drench the red clay soil and pines.

I walk and hike year-round. Over two days this week I walked just over twelve miles warming my winter chilled bones. The act of walking in the woods called to me like the melody of a favorite song. It is rarely too cold, hot or humid to keep me out of the trees. Even during all those years of living in the city, I still sought out the woods to climb mountains or sleep in a tent. I am a son of the country.

The wooded hills of Georgia. February 2023. Photo by me.

A dense pine thicket. February 2023. Photo by me.

Presently living in an area that I am largely unfamiliar, despite growing up in Georgia, means that I sometimes get lost. I take wrong turns, stray from the marked paths and try to find the familiar in the unfamiliar until I find my way or a way. Getting lost is not bad, I see it as a challenge to keep the gears of the mind turning with some fun problem-solving. My internal compass is still orienting itself to which way is north here and GPS would take the fun out of it. The detours are one of the aspects of life that keep it interesting.

The ruins of an 1800s mill that was active until the 1950s. Photo by me. February 2023.


Across Georgia there are plenty of mills or the stone ruins of them from the 1800s. If a creek or river was big enough then there was likely a family-run mill and possibly a moonshine still or two along it at one time. This is why there are so many roads and subdivisions with the word mill in their names. Those names are quaint nods to the history of an area that still may or may not exist somewhere in the woods. Today some of those mills and the land around them are preserved in county, state and federal park lands for us to admire and enjoy.


Shoals of a stream. Photo by me. February 2023.

Shoals of a stream. Photo by me. February 2023.


In the woods where I grew up there were no mill ruins. There were plenty of moonshine stills that were active until the 1970s, the remains of a mountain fire tower and rotting barns. Mills did exist in Paulding County such as nearby Pickett's Mill that was the location of an American Civil War battle. My piece of Paulding County was hills, small creeks and the large old farm that my grandparents owned.

My house today, elsewhere in Georgia, sits on what was part of a plantation that was split into smaller farms. This hill remained farmland into the 1990s and a barn once sat on part of my property. What remains of the plantation and farm is the nearby plantation house and the river. There are several mills preserved where I live and not all of history has been plowed under in the name of progress.

Photo by me. February 2023.

Photo by me. February 2023.

When contemporary life seems too much, I do what appeals to me and that is going for a walk or listening to music or reading. It is how I connect to what is at my core and resets me for daily life. As I wrote in Uncivil X, walking is how I air out my thoughts.

My suggestion for anyone is go get lost sometimes no matter how. You might find yourself or the familiar among the unfamiliar.