It is that juxtaposition and contrast of the two words that attracts me still because they seemed to so readily capture the earliest years of Trammels Trace. It is difficult to fully imagine the beauty of east Texas in the early 1800's. No human had as yet cleared land, cut trees, or plowed fields. The rivers ran true to their bounds, whether muddy or clear, and the only sounds heard were those made by nature. Early diary accounts mentioned making contact with very few people along the entire 180-mile route. Images of enormous cypress, pine, and oak come to mind, with very little undergrowth except in the river bottoms. A beautiful and tranquil image indeed.
Yet within that imagination I must remind myself of the separation and distance from anything that might have been considered as civilization. Along Trammel's Trace in the years before immigration grew in 1821, there was nowhere to turn in an emergency, no place of refuge or protection. One ate what they carried or killed along the way. Wooded places of beauty were impractical for farming, and without farming few were able to keep themselves fed and alive. The inhospitable was never far beneath the image of tranquility and peace. Death was there in the wilds if one did not protect themselves from it.
The "tranquility of the inhospitable wilds" is a phrase that will stay with me for while. Someday my artsy impulses may use it again.