Chatter and Chitter Heritage

Climbing To The Top Of The Ridge

Although I love to head out the back door and walk through the woods-it’s seldom I tackle the ridge behind my house. As The Deer Hunter would say-it’s steep as a mule’s face. But ever once in a while-I want to scale the ut-most height and come out on the flat at the top.

As I hike up the path-I’m always reminded of trying to walk up the slide as a kid. Did you ever do that? Each step is made harder by the slick layer of pine needles just like the slick metal of the slide on my elementary school playground.

Once I reach the top I find myself-sounds silly uh? Yet it’s true. There is something about being far above-about feeling as if I’ve left life below and climbed onto a higher plane. Maybe my feeling comes from the knowledge that no one else is silly enough to make the trek-and if they did-I’d hear them long before they reached the top. I guess the height makes the world and it’s worries seem to far away to matter.

Usually when I tackle the steep ridge-I go by myself-that kinda helps in the whole finding yourself thing. When the girls were about 3 I decided I wanted-I needed to go sit on the top of that high ridge just for a few minutes-to feel the wind in my face. There wasn’t anyone handy to watch them-so I told them we were going on a special walk. I was so drawn by the mountain-I didn’t even take time to put their shirts on. They climbed and crawled their way up with only a pair of shorts and shoes on. By the time we made it back home their bare arms and little fat bellys looked like they’d been thrown in the briar patch with brier rabbit. But I didn’t regret dragging them along-cause I had found the bit of peace I needed to continue.

For generations-folks who lived in Appalachia-built their homes in the coves and hollers where they were sheltered from the wind and the weather-where they were closer to the settlements and closer to water. Yet-they too were drawn to those high ridge tops-whether it was to hunt or to catch a moment’s peace-they carved out trails that led to the sloping flats found on top of mountains that were steep as a mules face.

What place calls you?



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  • Reply
    May 24, 2010 at 9:33 pm

    Deep dark woods and ocean waves call my name every time I am near them. It’s just something in the blood I guess. I always feel the calmest when I am one with nature and God is by my side. xxoo

  • Reply
    Building a house
    May 4, 2010 at 4:06 am

    Life is an adventure. Wonderful post!

  • Reply
    May 3, 2010 at 11:52 am

    Hi Tipper, I also love to go climbing up the hills and into the woods to get away from it all. You get a feeling of peace, and I wonder about who has been there before me, who’s footsteps I am following. My ancestors lived in the hills and hollers, I guess they were drawn to them as some people are drawn to the sea shores.

  • Reply
    Fishing Guy
    May 2, 2010 at 11:34 am

    Tipper: When I think of a place that calls me it has to be the waters of a lake or river. It has so many unseen wonders to share. The mountains of PA will always be a very special place in my heart. I love to spend some portion of my year there.

  • Reply
    Chef E
    May 2, 2010 at 8:06 am

    I too love exploring, but unfortunately I cannot go too high with asthma, but I appreciate flying over areas like this and dreaming of crunching leaves and sounds of nature…

  • Reply
    May 2, 2010 at 12:46 am

    Nice post Tipper. As kids, we used to climb up to a ridge behind my Great Aunts house. It was a workout even for us youngsters, but the view from the top made us make the trek every time we visited.

  • Reply
    May 1, 2010 at 4:51 pm

    I enjoyed that an awful lot. I know places like that. My favorite: Topsail Island, NC. Funny thing for a Connecticut girl.

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    May 1, 2010 at 3:52 pm

    Ahh, the joy of getting away if only for a moment. My wish is that everyone have a place like that.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    May 1, 2010 at 9:32 am

    Tipper, I haven’t walked in the mountains in a long time but I sure do feel a kinship with the mountains. I’m still looking for that story you asked for…the one I wrote about these mountains calling their own.
    I love where I live, snuggled up to the side of a mountain with trees around me. It’s funny to me that I can live within the Black Mountain city limits but still have the privacy and nearness to the mountains that I have and love.

  • Reply
    May 1, 2010 at 9:10 am

    A great post, Tipper. I love being in the woods, walking and listening to nature. I love to go alone or I used to take my old dog with me. He died last November, so now I go alone. And you are so right, getting up high just does something to your soul~gives you a feeling of freedom and contentment.
    Thank you so much fo sharing this.

  • Reply
    David Templeton
    April 30, 2010 at 11:14 pm

    I always enjoy your essays; those that, whether you set out to do so or not, become metaphors for life, spiritual and physical, and speak to the tonic found in getting ourselves mentally and physically above the fray, away from the confusion and the fatigue so we can see more clearly what God has given us.
    I have especially enjoyed the supportive comments from your readers as they see this post.
    We all need a special place where we can Steal Away, Steal Away Home.

  • Reply
    April 30, 2010 at 10:00 pm

    tipper, loved this post. The mountains of Va call to me. The hollar where my Grandma lived.. The spring and the creek,the old farm house and the wild wind poppies by the barn.. Am I home sick,yes you bet..

  • Reply
    April 30, 2010 at 9:31 pm

    Me too, Tipper…. I love the tops of mountains… The climbing is rough—but the joy on top is awesome.
    My friends hiked to Mt LeConte this past Tuesday—and ended up hiking through 4 inches of snow up there. They started with rain –then it turned to sleet and then snow… Unbelievable!!!! They had no idea they were going to hike in snow on April 27. BUT–they loved it and truly enjoy being WAY up on that huge mountain.

  • Reply
    April 30, 2010 at 3:21 pm

    The country calls to me. Even though I live in what I call the country, I still like to venture deeper into the woods and explore. Whether it be up the side of a mountain or down into a dry creekbed. It brings me peace. As does the ocean. Anything in nature brings me peace.

  • Reply
    Pat in east TN
    April 30, 2010 at 2:08 pm

    On our farm, walking the old logging roads to the ridge, was my calming place, but nowadays it’s a simple walk in our woods behind our house.

  • Reply
    Brenda Kay Ledford
    April 30, 2010 at 1:38 pm

    I enjoyed this posting very much. I’m glad you hiked the ridge, made it to the top, and found some peace. The mountains also speak to me. I feel such peace when I walk in the woods, climb the trial to the top of our ridge, look at the wild flowers, feel the wind blowing through my hair. Yes, there is something about just getting out climbing the hill. Loved this posting.

  • Reply
    Vicki Lane
    April 30, 2010 at 1:19 pm

    We have a ridge behind our house that I love to be on top of — but it’s a hard climb and a harder descent with my arthritic knees. So I make do with a bench on the edge of the woods, reached by a (relatively) flat trail.

  • Reply
    April 30, 2010 at 1:14 pm

    when I was 12 years old, on a hill in KY that looks like you went there and took this photo, including the leaves, my mother fell on her bottom and started to giggle hystericaly. she started sliding on those leaves faster and faster with my dad and my brother and me running down behind her, she slid all the way to the bottom and we have laughed as much over the memory as we did when it happened.
    as for the place that calls me the most, that would be Ormond Beach Flordia

  • Reply
    Sallie Covolo
    April 30, 2010 at 12:49 pm

    I loved this post, Tipper. I remembered when family lived near Black Mountain for awhile. (Our family moved a whole lot.) One year near Christmas my sister and I decided to climb up the mountain opposite where we lived to gather galax for a wreath. We found the Blue Ridge Assembly. It was vacant for the winter season.
    I am surprised at how we would wonder off and climb up the mountains. We felt so safe. I do not think we ever got permission.The family apparently trusted us to watch out for one another. Life was simpler then.

  • Reply
    Kenneth M. Roper
    April 30, 2010 at 12:28 pm

    Tipper, Thanks so much for this post. It hit home with me cause I
    live in a large hollar from child-hood and I know about steep faces
    and tops of the mountains. It does
    something to your soul, a type of
    cleansing.As a kid I use to catch
    lizzards in our branch coming from
    the mountains ( excellent bass bait ). My oldest daughter e-mailed me last night wanting to go
    up to our Twin Falls. I guess the
    yearning never leaves us, huh?
    Your friend, Hawkeye of Twin Falls

  • Reply
    April 30, 2010 at 7:44 am

    Tipper that was a great post and yes ,all of us need to at times get away to a place of peace and quiet, and just stop for a minute or two, and take in a deep breath, and say Thank You Lord for all your blessing, and for having this place where I can come and relax and get away from it all, for just a short time ,and collect my thoughts ,and charge, as it were my battries ,and get myself ready for another day, in this thing called “LIFE”.
    And I’m sure that as young as the girls were then, that they can still remember, the day they climbed up the HOLLER with Mom and slid all the way back down.
    Love you Malcolm

  • Reply
    April 30, 2010 at 7:31 am

    Tipper, We (Ciejay and Me) live here in Thailand in what you appalachia folks would call a holler , we are way down in a valley in a little village called Whang Pho and We (Ciejay and Me) have a home at the foot (100 yards) away from the foot of a small mountain range and 1/2 mile away from the banks of the famous River Kwai, the movie the Bridge on The River Kwai, the movie story, and the Bridge are just down the road ,and over another holler from us, and we go over it ,everytime we ride the train.
    I guess you could say that our little piece of paradise here in Thailand calls to Ciejay and me and here we will remain until we get the Last Call, from our Savior saying Come On Home to a place (maybe in a little holler just over in Glory land) prepared for you from the foundation of the world called HEAVEN . Malcolm from
    “Retired in Thailand and Loving It”

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