Appalachia Appalachia Through My Eyes

Appalachia Through My Eyes – Mountain Views From Brasstown


Mountain view from Brasstown

“Down in the flat country, what is there to see? Here in the mountains the world is held up for us to behold.”

—Willie Stewart; Foxfire Fall 1988


A few weeks ago, I came across the quote above in an old Foxfire Magazine. I never thought about the Earth being held up in places for us to see better-almost like a piece of fabric.

Paul and me used to bunch up one of Granny’s blankets in the floor over a couple of couch cushions. We made roads through the mountains and valleys of fabric for our toy cars to travel along. As I look back to our childhood games I realize, at that age, neither of us ever thought of a land where there were no mountains to traverse. The only way we knew how to build roads was to make them go up and down like the ones we traveled on in the backseat of Pap and Granny’s car.


Appalachia Through My Eyes – A series of photographs from my life in Southern Appalachia.

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  • Reply
    Rev. RB
    September 30, 2013 at 7:36 pm

    The mountains up along there, especially in the Uwharrie National Forest, have been found to be some of the oldest in the world, even older than Everest and the Himalayas, and they’re some of the most beautiful, in my opinion. If you’ve never had a chance to drive through the Blue Ridge (Smoky) Mountains, I heartily encourage it because I believe it would be a driving trip you’d never forget, especially in the Fall when the colors are showing.
    God bless.

  • Reply
    Susie Swanson
    September 14, 2013 at 8:19 pm

    Nothing like these mountains. When I was growing up the closest we came to venturing out was riding the back of daddy’s old truck everywhere we went. Kinda reminds me of The Darlings on Andy Griffeth, now that I think about

  • Reply
    Anne Downing
    September 13, 2013 at 2:52 am

    I am posting late, late, but feel I must put in my thoughts about the mountains of N C… Being a flat-lander from Mississippi and Louisiana, my first sight of a real mountain was in l988, in the foothills of the Appalachians in Alabama.
    Those foothills looked like giants to me, and have been teased by family ever since for exclaiming,”How glorious the mountians are”.
    Little did I know that we would still be making, 25 years later, long car rides to the most northern part of NC and all points in between to Clay County, which have given us the most breathtaking vistas that this heart and memory can hold.
    There is nothing to compare with being able to see for miles at the overlooks and on top of the various height mountains, marveling at the sight of the fold upon fold of blue tinted peaks and almost into God’s very house.
    What a treasure it must be to live in the mountains year ’round, beholding majesty at every bend in the road.
    You might can tell that we are smitten with your mountains, with the fresh air, with the sound of silence, with the kinship type of kindness of the people, with the stillness and hush in our very being Every time we catch sight of the first mountain top, and drive right up and down and around into surely a piece of God’s heaven right here on earth.
    I am thankful to share in a bit of the Appalachians every time I open up a Blind Pig “gift”, I call it. If I close my eyes, I can almost hear the 2 creeks singing and smell the clean air at our favorite rental home on Chunky Gal Mountain..I can hardly wait for October !

  • Reply
    Suzi Phillips
    September 12, 2013 at 11:19 pm

    Willie Stewart is a wise man!

  • Reply
    Richard Moore
    September 12, 2013 at 3:14 pm

    I love the lines from Foxfire and all the recent poetry. My favorite Appalachian poets are Byron Herbert Reece of Union County and the Kentuckian James Still.
    Here’s Reece’s “Boy and Deer”:
    Over the white, the frozen ground
    With cautious step the deer came down
    The boy who had come to be
    Alone with cloud and rock and tree
    Suddenly saw the deer and hid
    To see what that proud creature did.
    But the sharp snapping of a limb
    Made the proud deer aware of him.
    Kindred two, each watcher stood
    With perfect stillness in the wood,
    Each seeing each with mild surprise,
    And each with wonder in his eyes.

  • Reply
    Eva Nell Mull Wike, Ph.D.
    September 12, 2013 at 12:18 pm

    Dag-on-it! We were just over there this week and would have loved to make that presentation at the OLD COURTHOUSE in Sylvia. We have climbed that hill and walked around that old site to look down and see that magnificent view of main street so many times!
    I hope you see my note in “The Progress” to the graduates WHO MAY ATTEND our HHS REUNION Oct.4/5. Spread the word that “Fiddler” is for sale ‘down on Brasstown’ now.
    Eva Nell

  • Reply
    Ken Roper
    September 12, 2013 at 11:15 am

    My, my, the games we played and with such imagination when we were little. I love the mountains! Use to play and travel thru ’em often, and there’s nothing more comforting to me. My oldest daughter lives in Raleigh (Chapel Hill), and when she comes home, she loves the sound of “nothing”.
    I enjoyed Cindy’s comment today on
    our beautiful mountains…Ken

  • Reply
    September 12, 2013 at 9:55 am

    Sure wish I could attend Don and Wendy’s presentation tonight – sounds fascinating!
    And I’ve traveled through a lot of flat places but would find it hard to live there for very long. I need some shape to the landscape to sooth my eyes.

  • Reply
    Ron Banks
    September 12, 2013 at 8:43 am

    I love the mountains and I would never want to live anywhere else. I would feel too exposed living in the flat lands. We recently moved closer to home and now I’m back among the hills. I cannot tell you the peace we have of living here. No more street lights, noisy cars or nosey neighbors. Now we have starry nights, a noisy creek and neighbors not close enough to see.

  • Reply
    Bill Burnett
    September 12, 2013 at 8:20 am

    I concur with Miss Cindy, I too retired from the State of NC and had to make trips to the Flat Lands on a regular basis, the best part was the coming home. It’s funny how when you see The Black Mountains raise up in front of you “You’re Home” even though it’s still a hundred miles to Bryson City. I’ve noticed the same thing when returning from vacation on I26 West, coming through Spartanburg County and the mountains rare up in front of you the last two hours pass quickly due to the fact that this Hill-Billy is back in his element.

  • Reply
    Sue Crane
    September 12, 2013 at 7:40 am

    FL has lovely sunrises and sunsets but I sure do miss mountains and rolling waters.

  • Reply
    Gina S
    September 12, 2013 at 7:39 am

    Until my grandparents moved up to live with my family, biweekly treks down Old Fort Mtn. were common. I’ve never forgotten the beauty of the twisty two-lane road down to Old Fort from our Swannanoa Valley home. I thought the homeplace of my grands in Lincoln County rested on too flat a land. And, I remember the peace that fell on my soul when the car climbed back up that mountain road.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    September 12, 2013 at 7:33 am

    Tipper, I live very near the flat lands but most definitely in the mountains. It is quite a startling change. Go east of Black Mountain and there and drop down Old Fort Mountain and there it is, flat land all the way to the coast of North Carolina.
    Before I retired I had to make frequent trips to Raleigh. It was always startling to leave the mountains and travel through the flat lands. I mean, it’s flat. How in the world do people live without mountains. Coming home from Raleigh there was always a sense of excitement at the first site of the mountains, home.
    You can probably tell that I prefer our small towns and mountains to the flat land and big cities.
    On any day all I have to do is look up and there is a spectacular mountain view in any direction I look. Just like your beautiful pictures.

  • Reply
    September 12, 2013 at 7:23 am

    My Dad certainly would have agreed with Willie Stewart. He never cared for flat land, and he always said you could only see what was right around you. He said you could see everywhere in the mountains. It also seems to me that mountains give a sheltering feeling. I must add that flat land can offer one of the most spectacular views of the sky.

  • Reply
    Mike McLain
    September 12, 2013 at 7:22 am

    As a person who just ended a 35 year residence where the floor of my house was 10 feet above sea level, I can tell you that, from there, you can’t see anything except the next thing in the direction you are looking. I can’t describe how wonderful it feels to be up in the mountains seeing other mountains and other things below. The sense of peace it brings is indescribable.

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