Glynda had asked me to go pick up our brother, Houston’s truck. I had mistakenly thought the truck was in Prosperity. Turns out it was at his house near Watkinsville, GA. So, Sunday I was in for a long drive that I hadn’t really counted on. No matter – I hadn’t been to my brother’s house in awhile, even though he had been up our way lots of times. Also, with a new camera, I didn’t mind another excuse for a ramble.
We decided to avoid the interstate and take the back roads down through Abbeville, Elberton, and across to Watkinsville. After all, you can’t see sights like this from I-85, much less stop and photograph them…
The drive through South Carolina passed fairly quickly, and we didn’t really stop until we got to Elberton. There we took a moment to admire the quaint downtown architecture.
Elberton is known as “the granite capital of the world”, and many of the signs out in front of businesses are carved from granite. We passed by rock processing companies that had huge chunks stashed all around. Even local churches played upon the name…
Since we were this close, and since I didn’t know when I’d ever get the chance again, we decided to go find the Georgia Guidestones. Located north of Elberton, the Guidestones are a set of four monoliths arranged at angles with a capstone. Carved into the stone are a set of fairly strange sayings, or commandments, in eight different modern languages.
The stones were erected in 1980 and have been a source of mystery and outrage since then. The identity of the group that commissioned the stones has remained secret. Local religious conservatives objected to the psuedo New Age tenor of the carvings, and one politician even proposed tearing them down. The stones have been defaced by paint and vandalism.
However, when we visited it looked like they were in good shape. As for an secret message, I don’t really care. I was just there to look at a curiosity. Regardless, here is the text of the stones…
- Maintain humanity under 500,000,000 in perpetual balance with nature.
- Guide reproduction wisely — improving fitness and diversity.
- Unite humanity with a living new language.
- Rule passion — faith — tradition — and all things with tempered reason.
- Protect people and nations with fair laws and just courts.
- Let all nations rule internally resolving external disputes in a world court.
- Avoid petty laws and useless officials.
- Balance personal rights with social duties.
- Prize truth — beauty — love — seeking harmony with the infinite.
- Be not a cancer on the earth — Leave room for nature — Leave room for nature.
Yeah, a bit weird, especially with the injunctions about human reproduction. The religious conspiracists refer to them as “The Ten Commandments of the Anti-Christ”.
The stones loom over the Elbert County countryside, set on one of the highest points in the county. Like Stone henge, there are astronomical features built into the monument, marking the sun’s passage throughout the day and year.
From the Guidestones we retraced our route back to Elberton, then headed west, driving through small Georgia communities. I saw a sign pointing to Watson Mill Bridge State Park, and decided one more detour was in order.
Watson Mill Bridge Park is so named for the covered bridge and stonework ruins on the South Fork of the Broad River. At 229 feet, it’s the longest covered bridge in Georgia, and is still used for traffic.
Immediately downstream from the bridge is a dam that was once used to power a local mill, but now makes a perfect spot for sunning on a hot day like today.
Since it was so hot, and we had a destination in mind, we didn’t stay long. I even left the car running for Glynda while I hopped out to get some shots. We then drove across the single-lane bridge and continued on our trek.
We got to Houston’s farm around lunch time. From Watson’s Bridge to Watkinsville we had seen lots that would be great photography subject matter, but we had a task to attend. Houston showed us what was happening on his farm, and we had a great visit with him and Lynda.
It was a great, albeit brief visit, and a good chance to get some more practice with the new camera. There is so much in this part of Georgia that I’d like to see and do, but I always seemed to be occupied with my own home state. That’s always the way it goes. Glynda and I said our goodbyes, and took the more direct interstate route back home.