Appalachia Appalachia Through My Eyes

Appalachia Through My Eyes – Paths

My life in appalachia - paths

From house to house he goes
A messenger small and slight,
And whether it rains or snows,
He sleeps outside at night.


The answer to the riddle above is a path.

The photo above, shows the path that leads from about midways along our driveway down to Pap’s big garden. Actually the path doesn’t begin in our driveway it starts at the steps of Granny and Pap’s back porch. The path goes along through their yard and when it reaches our road it splits with one path leading off down to Paul’s house, one leading up alongside our driveway to our house, and the other continuing across the road and down to the garden.

If you ever stop to think about paths they are very thought provoking. There are paths everywhere in this world, even in the largest cities you can find paths that cut through grassy areas or unused lots. People and animals both make paths which lead to their daily destinations. I find it fascinating that paths made by various feet traveled in years gone by, can still be seen years later even though no one has walked them in ages.

Way back in the day before I was even married, a fellow visiting our mountain holler made fun of the paths which led from house to house. At the time I felt embarrassed or slighted by his comment. All these years later, looking at the paths with older eyes, I see the paths which travel between mine, Pap’s, Paul’s and Steve’s houses as a source of great wealth.


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

You Might Also Like


  • Reply
    RB Redmond
    May 31, 2013 at 6:32 pm

    The paths I remember most from our childhood is the one that ran through the ancient lilac bushes beside the driveway, and the one over the bank that ran through the sumac (the unpoison kind). Boy, how we had fun with them. We even made little wide spots we turned into rooms where we took old milk boxes (our dad was a milkman) to sit upon and store our treasures in.
    Interestingly enough, when our sister moved into the house, her children did similar things, and when our niece moved there, so did her children. No matter the time, given a similar place with similar circumstances, children do pretty much the same things, don’t they. LOL
    God bless.

  • Reply
    May 30, 2013 at 7:26 pm

    There is a place in Nebraska that still shows the ruts(path) made by the wagon trains going West many, many year ago. I was awed by the site the first time I saw this when traveling to Colorado from Kansas. To think they were still visible this many years later.

  • Reply
    May 30, 2013 at 5:53 pm

    I think how lucky you are to have created those paths from one loved one to another—-so few folks have that available to them—-lucky lucky you!!

  • Reply
    Glenda Beall
    May 30, 2013 at 2:22 pm

    What a lovely post, Tipper. Having lived in the country and on a farm most of my life, paths are a subject close to my heart. I used to marvel at the paths I found in the woods where animals had traveled, the cow paths the herd made on their regular treks from the pasture to the dairy barn, and the wonderful paths made by family, like yours, going back and forth between homes. Yes, the word path has a deep meaning for me.

  • Reply
    May 30, 2013 at 2:19 pm

    I can remember the early fifties
    when neighbors had trails from
    holler to holler. We called ’em
    Liquor Trails cause we had our
    share of Moonshiners in the
    Mountains where I was raised. But
    they were also paths to someone’s
    house, so we could check on them
    if they were sick. We lived close
    to a quarter mile from the only
    paved road leading to town. There
    was six of us boys, so farming was
    just a fun thing for me. Being the
    youngest, I carried drinking water
    from one of the springs near our
    cornfield. You can bet we kept
    them trails wore slick from all
    the walking…Ken

  • Reply
    May 30, 2013 at 2:17 pm

    I never quite looked at a path analysis like you did. I really liked what your philosophy, and the next time I see a path I will look at it differently. I will ponder its use and its meaning. Great thoughts!

  • Reply
    May 30, 2013 at 2:06 pm

    Funny how time (and getting older and wiser) can change how we see things. I agree, all of the BP paths are great sources of wealth and true treasures!

  • Reply
    May 30, 2013 at 1:19 pm

    Mama used to comment on a certain family member who was an even worse housekeeper than I am and who left her shopping bags unpacked and lying around–there’s just a “little pig path” through her house.
    I have been told that many of our very crooked roads were laid out following animal paths. Hard driving but beautiful scenery.
    It’s very touching to me to think of the years of feet traveling along those paths. I have noticed that, even when there are sidewalks in urban areas, sometimes a path will persist going its own way.

  • Reply
    b. Ruth
    May 30, 2013 at 11:12 am

    I love, love this post today. Some folks might ought to rethink the paths they are taking. Some folks should feel blessed by the ones they have taken, knowing or naught!
    Once I was on the bus, can’t remember whether it was the Greyhound or Trailways…For effect let’s say Trailways. Pun intended! I was very young, seventh or eighth grade. It was normal for me to ride from East Tennessee to Canton or Asheville to meet relatives for a week or weekend visit and to ride the big bus back home, yes by myself!
    That day I was on my way back to TN…Along the high, curvy, mountain road, trees and rocks were the beautiful view. The bus was already slowing down, when the stop belltone rang. The bus slowed to a stop. A Cherokee Indian came walking past me from the middle of the bus..The door opened and off he went, around the front of the bus and down thru the trees…A startled foreign (not from our neck of the woods)lady in front of me, gasped “Where is he going?”
    The driver just laughed and said, “If you look close over to the side of those trees, you will see a path, he is going home!” She was still staring at that clump of trees as we rounded another cover of trees down the mountain road! The bus driver looking at me in the mirrow winked and laughed again!
    That experience always, for some reason meant a lot to me, which is a long story in itsself! A path of life! I road the Trailways many more times and once we stopped one morning in the middle of the road, trees all around, no sign of houses or anything and picked up the Cherokee with his small brown paper sandwich poke, as he road to work and back each day. I am not sure the driver of the bus was supposed to pick him up there, instead of a bus stop or station, but he did and seemed to love to get a reaction out a stranger that didn’t understand the Appalachian mountains and stopping in the middle of nowhere!
    Thanks Tipper,

  • Reply
    May 30, 2013 at 11:03 am

    Way back even further in the day, I started High School. The town I lived in did not have one so we went to a neighboring village to finish our education. They had built a new addition that was opened the year before and this had ‘moved” the main exit/entrance; the area where the busses loaded was paved, but it ended there. The next year, though, there was a diagonal sidewalk across the grass that lead to the corner of the nearest intersection; the school had waited until the footsteps of the town kids, who walked to and from school, made a path and showed them where to put the sidewalk.

  • Reply
    May 30, 2013 at 9:57 am

    I love to follow paths through the woods and see where they come out at!

  • Reply
    Mike McLain
    May 30, 2013 at 9:56 am

    I say let the ignorant make fun if they want. The poor visitor will probably never get it!

  • Reply
    Ethelene Dyer Jones
    May 30, 2013 at 9:50 am

    Tipper, What a delightful riddle on path(s)! We had paths in Choestoe, too, and used them frequently. In fact. one allowed us to go from Choestoe Baptist Church to Salem Methodist Church between Sunday School and Church on “off” Sundays to attend preaching every Sunday! And there was a path to school, and paths to neighbors’ houses without going “around the long way” by road! Wonderful! I probably should work more on this impromptu poem before I release it here, but for what it’s worth, here are a few thoughts:
    The Lure of a Path
    “Make me to know Your paths, O Lord; teach me your paths.” -Psalm 25:4
    A path, well-beaten, traveled,
    With feet both large and small
    Leads on this way to find
    Delights beyond recall.
    A way to save some time,
    A way to say ‘hello,’
    A way to do a neighborly deed,
    A way to come and go.
    When family and friendship join hands
    Where nature makes a way
    To travel softly, travel easily
    Through any time of night or day.
    How many feet have trod this path?
    Soft-moccassined, hunting, outward going?
    Our dear ancestors on a mission
    Seeking better land for settlement and sowing?
    Decry not paths enticing our feet.
    Thereon the past and present meet.
    -Ethelene Dyer Jones 05.30.2013

  • Reply
    Joyce Mullikin
    May 30, 2013 at 9:47 am

    Paths provide us with good memories of times past.

  • Reply
    Sheryl Paul
    May 30, 2013 at 9:45 am


  • Reply
    May 30, 2013 at 9:36 am

    Paths are wonderful links, sources of inspiration, signs of hope, chasers of loneliness, usually safe explorations, opportunities for discovery, places of memories, safeholders of secrets, stimulators of dreams and ideas,harbors of solitude as well as shared joys; and yet, so taken for granted. Thanks for turning the spotlight on them.

  • Reply
    May 30, 2013 at 9:35 am

    I am also fascinated by paths. My property is located halfway between Bardston and Shepherdsville, KY where the Salt River is located. There is a trail through my woods that is said to be a wagon trail used by pioneers when traveling to trade for goods brought in on the river.
    Five of my six grandchildren live a half mile down the lane. They use the gravel road to travel to my house. Since they have been on summer vacation, I could swear the road is getting wider.

  • Reply
    Mark Selby
    May 30, 2013 at 9:22 am

    I remember reading once about a developer who built an office complex with a large open courtyard in the center. The contractor wanted to know where to put the sidewalks — they apparently were not drawn into the plans. The builder said to just sow it all in grass, and he’d determine later where to put the sidewalks. And so it happened that way. By and by, paths developed throughout the courtyard, in the most efficient routes from Point A to Point B. They even had graceful, curving paths on these routes. The builder then told the contractor, “That’s where I want my sidewalks.” And they wound up having sidewalks that were actually used by the people, with an artistic flare to boot! Would that we were all as wise as that old builder.

  • Leave a Reply