Sometimes I feel like Charles Darwin in the Galapagos when I walk up and down (and all around) Stone Mountain. Everything pretty much fascinates me—the variety of plants, animals, people, weather, carvings, and the long history and transformation of the place—and, years later, the mountain continues to feel worthy of further exploration. Maybe my attempt to keep an informal inventory of sorts on this website is rooted in a very basic artistic impulse to take my vision of something—measure its entropy, so to speak—and suspend it long enough, and in such a way, through a variety of media, so that others might see and understand that very vision.
Believe it or not, I often take to the mountain when I'm tired or just need to clear my head, and I always—really, always—feel better after I hike up to the top or walk up through one of the lesser traveled wooded trails that snake up the side of the mountain. Perhaps it's because my lungs breathe in so much fresh air or that the blood in my body circulates so optimally. More likely, though, it's the fellowship of so many of the other regulars and "friends of the mountain" I run into there, like Tony Taylor, who I first posted about here back on September 15, 2014, and again singled out in a post on November 5th, when he confronted a group of young white nationalists on my behalf the day before the 15-year anniversary of 9/11. Today he is featured on local public radio, and the reporter even used some of the audio from the videos I've been compiling through the years of Tony in action in her segment.
Though at the end of the day he and I may be different people, Tony genuinely takes an interest in what's going on in my life and with my family (he asks about my dear beleaguered siblings), and I value all that he's shared about his life with me. We don't stand on any ceremony when we run into each other either, and he'll tell me if he disagrees with me about something or if he doesn't feel like being filmed. Like many of us, Tony strikes his chords on the mountain for his own personal reasons, and sometimes he's in the mood to be solitary and just play his guitar, but when he's not, he's often handing over his guitar on a busy weekend to curious visitors—young and old alike—to offer impromptu music lessons or simply give them a chance to play. He is certainly part of the gold in these here hills.
If anyone can rightfully own the phrase "I am the mountain!," Tony's the guy. I have been chronicling him for awhile now, and I suppose I've bothered him so much that he recently proposed marriage, ha! And I was lucky to catch a rare recitation of the poem "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock" by T.S. Eliot from him this past October (makes sense that his nickname, Plum Tony, is an acronym for Poet Laureate of Universal Man). These videos and more are below and here on a dedicated page.