Appalachia Appalachia Through My Eyes

Appalachia Through My Eyes – The Creek Is Full

If you look on our property deed you’ll see the small creek that runs t

My life in appalachia the creek is full

hrough our holler noted as Meadows Creek, but we’ve always called it the Stamey Branch. Pap said the Meadows part must have come from someone who lived in the area before his grandpa moved here-or for whoever was going about naming creeks as they mapped the land.

The Stamey Branch has enjoyed an entire year of being full. With the ample rain we’ve had in western North Carolina the creek ran at full capacity throughout 2013 and so far-it’s keeping up with the trend for 2014.

Have you ever heard the siren call of water? Maybe it’s the ocean for you; a fast rolling river; the calmness of a sparkling lake; or maybe you’re like me and it’s the gurgling waters of a small mountain creek that calls your name and beckons you to come.

As I child I spent so much time playing around the creek I didn’t notice the call. But after I was grown and married with more obligations than I knew what to do with, I began to hear the creek call to me. Sometimes the longing hits at the most inopportune moments like when I’m rushing out the door to go somewhere, or when I’m halfway done with a chore that just can’t be interrupted like cooking super, or late in the night when I awake in my bed and hear the waters of the Stamey Branch hurrying on their way to Brasstown and beyond.

The creek loomed large in my mind as a child. It seemed to be full of hidden crevices and secrets only I could find. As with many things in life-the creek didn’t seem nearly as big once I became an adult. Yet it still calls to me as an old friend who knows me better than I know myself.


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

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  • Reply
    Gary Powell
    January 14, 2014 at 11:55 am

    My great uncle Ike used to come to my Granny’s years ago to get me to help him seine the creeks for minnows, so that we could go fishing. I looked forward to the creek trips as much as the real fishing. Now I’m taking my grand kids to the creeks. Still love the water whether the little creeks or the ocean off of Cape Hatteras.

  • Reply
    Mary Rutherford
    January 14, 2014 at 12:06 am

    So many of my childhood memories are connected with the beautiful waters of East Tennessee – the flowing Clinch River, sparkly little Buffalo & Clear Creek, the icy cold spring at my Great Grandfather’s home place, the puddles after a warm summer rain. These waters provided for the one’s that came before me and flow through me with no less importance than the blood in my veins. Lucky are those of us who grew up turning over rocks for crawdaddys and watching the silvery flash of minnows in the sun accompanied by the music of tumbling water. Let’s all pay it forward by getting a child outside!

  • Reply
    Rev. RB
    January 13, 2014 at 9:55 pm

    There’s nothing quite like the sound of moving water to calm a busy mind, is there.
    God bless.

  • Reply
    Jane Bolden
    January 13, 2014 at 6:19 pm

    I played in a creek behind my house while growing up. I miss it.

  • Reply
    January 13, 2014 at 5:07 pm

    So beautifully put,Tipper! This so reminds me of hearing the Tuckaseegee down the slope,and other such waters.

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    January 13, 2014 at 4:46 pm

    Ron – Tipper has written a book. Do you own it? It is a work of art in more than just the literary sense. It contains snippets of her view of life in words and pictures. I told her once that the one fault I found with it was, it is too little. It is only an appetizer. I am ready for the main course.
    Anyone else who doesn’t own Tipper’s book can purchase it by clicking on the picture in the upper left corner of her blog right under the search box.

  • Reply
    C. Ron Perry, Sr.
    January 13, 2014 at 2:48 pm

    Tipper, You have a wonderful writing style. I really enjoyed your thoughts about the creek today. I know that you will be writing a book any day now.

  • Reply
    January 13, 2014 at 12:51 pm

    Water – Life’s Blood.
    Your empathy for nature and all she holds (including us two legged critters) comes through so loud and clear in this post. The same is true for your readers.
    Water has always called me as well: from childhood days in south Texas playing in irrigation water as the water bubbled up from the canals through the surge wells and onto the thirsty fields and orchards; to time spent wandering the Atlantic shore line as a young bride far from home and family seeking peace in a time of war and unrest while my husband was in NOCS in R.I.. Perhaps the varied sounds of water were the mantra which helped me put life’s troubles and annoyances in perspective.
    I have tried to find that solace in those little table top fountains but their motors are like mosquitoes buzzing in my ears – they don’t quite cut it.
    Water has put us through many trials: my sister was hit by a boat while water skiing and nearly drowned as well as getting pretty torn up; floods have threatened us although we have been fortunate not to suffer any significant losses. But still we are drawn to the water and the comfort it usually provides.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    January 13, 2014 at 12:23 pm

    The water talks to me, sings to me and promises peace. Water has always talked to me. When I was a little girl around 4 years old my mom took me to a kids pool to swim and play. I used to dive down to the bottom of that little pool and put my fingers in the grate on the drain and hold myself there so I wouldn’t float to the top. I would hold on and listen to the water talk and feel the peace it offered, till I had to have a breath. Then I’d go back down again. My mother would have had an absolute tizzy fit if she had realized I was putting my fingers in those holes for fear I’d drown.
    I love rivers, creeks, lakes, the ocean, and my bathtub. I love long soaks in hot water.
    One time in my life I wanted to move to the ocean, but only for a year. I wanted to experience the ocean through all four seasons…then go back to the mountains that I love.

  • Reply
    b. Ruth
    January 13, 2014 at 12:19 pm

    My goodness, I am having trouble getting my two-cents worth in for reading your beautiful blog post, again, and then reading all the wonderful comments! Wow, did this post ever awaken up memories in the minds of people. From the innocent childhood creekside memories, on to the fact that the “siren call” can and does bring danger from war or creek fed pond drownings!
    Your description of your memories and thoughts of your stream, branch, creek plucked a string in everyones heart! Just wonderful!
    And then, here comes me! All those memories are mostly the same for me..I wandered, waded, dipped my feet, cast a line, turned a few rocks hunting for spring lizards, and I loved it.
    I still love to go down behind our house and sit. As I watch the little wet weather spring bring the water down the hill to the concrete cistern, I can daydream forever. The folks that used the old stagecoach road, where I sit on the bank, (now grown up around me) dipped buckets and dippers into the cold water as they rested on the way to South West Point!
    However, when I saw the words, “siren call”, my
    mischevious mind went straight to poor old Pete. The character, who supposedly, was turned into a “toad”, found laying down by the creek bed, when they awoke from their drunken stupor! “O’brother Where Art Thou” was one of my very favorite movies…
    Wonderful post Tipper,
    Great comments by everyone, also!

  • Reply
    Dee Parks
    January 13, 2014 at 11:48 am

    Thanks, Tipper, for your special talent of writing about something that can take us back in time. As a child visiting my grandparents in MS, I absolutely loved their sand bottom creeks, which were crystal clear unless a big storm came through and muddied the water. I was amazed to peer down in that crystal clear water and see a wavy pattern. It was as if someone had taken a spatula and created a wavy pattern in the sand. With the sun shining on it, it sparkled like diamonds and I could have sat by it all day. I was raised N of Chicago,Ill., and loved the little creeks my cousin and I found around our town. Having traveled through your area many times I really love the creeks and waterfalls in that area too. I think a serene setting of creek, branch, lake, or ocean can inspire one and be a healing factor just by the peacefulness and tranquility of the scene. I enjoyed all the comments too.

  • Reply
    Ken Roper
    January 13, 2014 at 11:15 am

    I know exactly about those feelings of
    a mountain stream. When I go home at
    night, the first thing I notice is that
    rushing water flowing through my
    homeplace. As kids, my brothers and I
    built swimming holes in it and played for hours in the summertime. When a market became available, we caught many a lizard out of that creek and later I used a flashlight and fished for ’em along the crevices
    of the Twin Falls…Ken

  • Reply
    Ron Banks
    January 13, 2014 at 10:06 am

    We purposely bought our home because of the little mountain stream that runs behind the house. It is just right to wade in and step from rock to rock. I still enjoy playing in the creek and our kids absolutely love it. We had a pool at our last house but our kids will tell you a creek is much better because they can play and explore. In warmer weather I open our bedroom window so we can be lulled to sleep by the sound of the water tumbling down off the mountain. It is a natural stress reliever in a hectic world. They can keep all the drugs used to alter your mood, just give me my creek!

  • Reply
    Dan O'Connor
    January 13, 2014 at 10:04 am

    looks like you hit on something special for most folks, and I am one. The water is special. I don’t know why. All I know is that I can sit and look out over a lake or listen to a stream and I am home with it and calm. A walk in the woods is always better along a stream.

  • Reply
    james gentry
    January 13, 2014 at 10:03 am

    When the creek is full, so is my heart. Great post.

  • Reply
    Garland Davis
    January 13, 2014 at 10:02 am

    My life has been about water. As a child, I was fascinated by the running waters of the creeks around my home. We spent many lazy summer afternoons building dams and swimming. The first time I saw the Mississippi River, I sat and watched it roll by for over an hour. Twenty-three of my thirty years in the Navy were spent aboard ship. I have seen the oceans of the world at their most peaceful and as the most dangerous places on Earth. Each morning, while having my coffee, I look over the Pacific from my rear patio and watch the Navy ships entering and departing Pearl harbor.

  • Reply
    Sheila S.
    January 13, 2014 at 9:40 am

    Now ya’ll have gone and done it. How can I get any work done this morning? Memories are flooding in–like a creek that’s up after a big rain! Mr. Pipes, glad you mentioned being baptized in the creek. Helped me focus a bit and relate one creek- related memory. My Nana and Pap were members of Cedar Cliff Baptist church and baptizing was done in the Snowbird River. I trusted Jesus as my Lord and Savior when I was twelve. But I didn’t trust a single preacher in Graham county NC to put me under that cold dark blue-green water and lift me back out alive. Just wasn’t going to happen and that was that.

  • Reply
    January 13, 2014 at 9:36 am

    The flowing of a creek is so relaxing, a good area for spreading a blanket and reading a good book. It is also a place to sit comfortably to write thoughts, nap, write letters to friends, and just gather ones thoughts, especially when life becomes overwhelming. However, one fear is the creek overflowing its banks and flooding when torrential rains occur.

  • Reply
    January 13, 2014 at 9:05 am

    Something I love about your blog, Tipper, as the posts sometimes touch the innermost parts of our heart. I wrote a poem many years ago about such a creek near and dear to my heart. May I share?
    How the sadness wells inside me
    as I ponder days gone by.
    Trickling brooks and mountain waters have been left so far behind.
    Oh, those memories carry me
    on a journey back in time
    to a long and winding creek that forever haunts my mind.
    Down the path and by the Sherrod Branch
    I have walked for many a mile
    to the sounds of rustling waters
    beckoning to me all the while.
    My, how sweet those mountain memories
    and the folks who once dwelled there.
    on the sandy banks of Pinnacle.
    ‘Twas never meant to tarry there
    for the flow of life would lead them
    to other strange and distant shores
    Precious thoughts and dreams of Pinnacle would remain forevermore.

  • Reply
    Mary Lou McKillip
    January 13, 2014 at 9:01 am

    Tipper, you have such a way to prick our memories of creeks and river and even lakes. Most of us reared in these hills/water filled mountains have been feed on fish coming from these streams. Most of us had a Tom Sawyer ideals with us. I was baptized in Hyatt creek. We would slip out and go to the creek to fish in the baptizing hole, Mama always told us to stay out of the water until we learned to swim. That was so funny to me and one day I ask the dumb question at the wrong time, How can I learn to swim unless I get in water? Nature was a good teacher for me.

  • Reply
    Sue Crane
    January 13, 2014 at 8:43 am

    I love creeks- I remember my dad taking us “to ride” one weekend and finding a confluence of two creeks. One was crystal clear and the other a muddy brown. I was mystified by the two of them coming together yet flowing separately for quite a few feet before blending.

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    January 13, 2014 at 8:19 am

    Lazy little rivulet, slipping and swirling, stumbling and tumbling, all the while whispering and giggling and laughing out loud. Free and innocent and eager to run. But always seeking the easy way down. Hurling and swirling against the most massive of obstructions yet finding a way. Over, under, around and through.

  • Reply
    Gina S
    January 13, 2014 at 8:19 am

    A childhood friend and I ran off to the creek, actually the Swannanoa River, every time we escaped the eagle eyes of her mother. Today my grandsons and I walk a path along the beginnings of the Swannanoa. I have told the boys many times of the journey the creek water takes before it reaches the Gulf of Mexico. They have also seen the spot in Asheville where the Swannanoa flows into the French Broad. We also talk about the place just up past Ridgecrest where the Eastern Continental Divide sends all river water into the Atlantic Ocean. From wading to learning opportunities to water for life, creeks sustain us.

  • Reply
    Mike McLain
    January 13, 2014 at 8:07 am

    When I was a kid, I spent a lot of time at a nearby creek, catching crawdads and tiny little catfish (biggest was about 3/4″). For 35 years, I lived within 2 miles of the Atlantic Ocean. The ocean didn’t hold much attraction for me. It was interesting, but I could easily ignore it.
    Now I live in Transylvania County, NC, the Land of Waterfalls. There are creeks, rivers and waterfalls everywhere. I am completely under the spell of the waterfalls.

  • Reply
    Sheryl Paul
    January 13, 2014 at 7:36 am

    I love the rush of a creek, I have spent many hours sitting on a bank beside a creek eyes closed just listening.

  • Reply
    January 13, 2014 at 7:28 am

    I could still sit and watch a small to medium sized stream all day. I would also enjoy exploring a creek to see what lives in and around it.
    I think the waterfalls and small ‘rapids’ probably get my attention the quickest.

  • Reply
    Ethelene Dyer Jones
    January 13, 2014 at 7:22 am

    Tipper, You have waxed poetic in your description of Stamey Creek and its call to you. I think you made us all remember what stream held us spellbound as children, what streams we would like to return to and rest awhile beside as adults. Poet Byron Herbert Reece wrote of Nottely River: “Where Nottely’s waters roil and run.” He also made Wolf Creek, a lesser stream beside which he lived, a memorable and healing place of water. Thanks for taking us back to the water that called and still calls us!

  • Reply
    Roy Pipes
    January 13, 2014 at 7:21 am

    Tipper: We used to dam up Peachtree Creek for a swimming hole. We spent many hours damming the creek and swimming. Making the swimming hole was as much fun as swimming. I was baptized in Peachtree Creek

  • Reply
    Judy Mincey
    January 13, 2014 at 7:21 am

    I have always heard that call. It’s hard for me to see a nice creek, spring, pond, lake or ocean without wanting to get at least my feet wet. I did not grow up by the creek, but there was a nice cold spring-fed one on my grandfather’s farm. For the last forty years my mother has lived by Kinman Creek. She says she doesn’t understand how someone as afraid of the water as she is could have had three such puddle ducks as me and my brothers. Her mama told her not to go near the water ’till she learned to swim. She made sure all of us had swimming lessons as soon as we were old enough. I am so grateful for that.

  • Reply
    Uncle al
    January 13, 2014 at 7:20 am

    What a nice thought with which to start the week. Our little creek or I should say branch as it’s called Lenoir Branch has been flowing oh so well recently. I agree that the sounds of the moving water are like a magnet. A recent memory is one that included my daughter and granddaughter down at the creek searching for pretty and unque rock treasures. The were so focused on that task they failed see a big buck deer crossing the water and stopping to give them a good “buck grunt”. They both agreed it was the biggest deer in Macon county.
    Thanks for sharing and bringing back good memories.

  • Reply
    Eva Nell Mull, PhD
    January 13, 2014 at 6:52 am

    Tipper: It is not difficult to ‘feel’ your devotion to your special creek. We were so lucky to have the Coleman Creek running out of the Matheson Cove and along a big pasture filled with gentle cows. So many hot summer days were spent TRYING to learn to swim. Mama was mighty nervous about Daddy taking us to Lake Chatuge to swim – for she knew none of us knew how to swim. ALSO WE KNEW YOUNG CHILDREN who had drown in the lake! So my fear of swimming was greater than my devotion to the sound of the creek. But thanks! I LOVED REMEMBERING OUR CREEK!
    Eva Nell

  • Reply
    January 13, 2014 at 5:53 am

    Wow, Kids and creeks, that sounds like a good book to me, I could write one on the adventures we had on the Little Shoal and Big Shoal Creek, like hunting down bad guys or Cowboys and Indians or catching crawdads, or just fishing and when the fish wouldn’t bite, jump in and go swimming, but had to dry off before going home or Mama would get us,, all memories now…

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