Our November Retreat

Today’s Guest Post was written by Ethelene Dyer Jones.

My november retreat

What penetrating lines from the pen of John Parris used to describe November. His inimitable description and his fresh metaphors make us see “the hills from Wautaga to Cherokee,” and any of the beloved hills in the mountainous areas of North Carolina, Georgia and Tennessee.

I was in the mountains for a week October 29 through November 5, the first time to go back to a retreat Grover and I enjoyed, a place to get away awhile and rest in late October, early November. I had not been there without him (my husband passed away January 26, 2011 after a long illness). But I knew that I must make that plunge, brave my loneliness, and go there again. Here’s a little vignette I wrote about the early November days in the mountains of North Georgia:

North georgia mountains

This November beauty is bitter-sweet.

Its loveliness brings joy but at the same time tears my heart asunder.

On deciduous trees, gold, amber, red and magenta vie for prizes for the most flamboyance.

Crisp leaves fall in crescendo, bringing memories like rising waters.

Times ago we walked this autumn path together, hand-in-hand.

I braved the trail down to Duke’s Creek Falls, knowing the ascent later would be strenuous.

I stood in awe at the falls, heard the cascades tumble, saw the silver spray on gray granite.

Framed in autumn’s gold on trees about the falls, the sight was spectacular, the sound of falling waters a mighty overture.

“Nothing gold can stay,” I echoed the lines of Robert Frost’s poem.

The gold of late afternoon sunlight combined with golden leaves and rushing water to salute my sadness.

I turned from the beauty and started the journey upward and away from the falls.

Leaves danced along the pathway, stirred by late afternoon breezes.

I had to make the journey, had to climb the mountain.

More mountains lie ahead, but a bulwark of November’s bitter-sweet beauty will go with me.

Beauty lies on the journey still—remembered, and still present to observe and absorb.


Ethelene Dyer Jones

Carolina, Georgia and Tennessee.


I hope you enjoyed Ethelene’s thoughts on visiting their retreat for the first time without her husband, Grover.

Be sure to drop back by tomorrow-when the giveaways continue!



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  • Reply
    kay keen
    January 8, 2012 at 4:37 pm

    This is really heart touching, you have to go there to really know how she feels and know what she is talking about. Thank you so much for sharing this . Kay

  • Reply
    November 25, 2011 at 10:56 am

    So sad. But still beautiful!

  • Reply
    November 17, 2011 at 2:57 pm

    Beautiful words that made me cry! May God bless you, Ehtelene and help you through your grief.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    November 16, 2011 at 9:08 am

    Thank you, Ethelene, for sharing your pilgrimage with us. My thoughts are with you. Life is not easy to live sometimes. Hurts heal and you go on as best as you can.

  • Reply
    November 16, 2011 at 7:50 am

    Thanks for sharing. Memories are great to have.

  • Reply
    Suzi Phillips
    November 16, 2011 at 12:35 am

    Ethelene, your story was so touching & bittersweet. You are one brave lady to face your pilgrimage (& your grief) head on. I know that strength will sustain you in the days ahead. God Bless.

  • Reply
    November 15, 2011 at 9:14 pm

    Beautiful, and so poignant.
    God bless.

  • Reply
    Mary Rutherford
    November 15, 2011 at 7:26 pm

    Ethelene, this was beautifully written. I am glad Tipper shared it with us. I have walked that trail to Duke’s Creek Falls many times. Over a span of thirty plus years I have shared the experience with friends and loved ones. When next I am there, I will think of your story and will enjoy knowing that it is a treasured place for so many. I hope that your lonely moments will be eased by special memories of your time in that lovely place.

  • Reply
    November 15, 2011 at 7:10 pm

    Ethelene – What a beautiful vignette of the November retreat you have painted with your descriptive language.

  • Reply
    Jim Casada
    November 15, 2011 at 7:09 pm

    Ethelene–I just realized that I didn’t finish my thought on gold. I’m sure your recent experience included golden memories, and they are a treasure beyond measure. Thanks for sharing, and I suspect you found both the experience and the sharing something of a catharsis.
    Jim Casada

  • Reply
    John Way
    November 15, 2011 at 3:43 pm

    Beautiful as always, Ethelene. We just re-read the poem you wrote for Mary a few years ago.
    We all miss Grover, and pray GOD (using your faith) will cover your loneliness.
    You are so gifted.
    We love you,
    JOHN and MARY

  • Reply
    November 15, 2011 at 2:47 pm

    Congradulations to Sandy, Pat, and
    Carol on winning ‘a granny’s
    creation’ keepsake.
    Ethelene, that was nice and heart-
    warming! I liked the part “leaves
    danced along the pathway, stirred
    by afternoon breezes.” I feel for
    your loss and hope your pathway
    is blessed by gentle breezes…Ken

  • Reply
    November 15, 2011 at 2:20 pm

    MY dear Ethelene—-What a beautiful rememberance of words letting one see into your heart and soul—remember always that when you re-visted that area that sounds so wonderful to me up here in the north,that your husband’s memory will be highten..with joy for you–Many Blessings at this time of the year of thanksgivng. Linda

  • Reply
    November 15, 2011 at 11:43 am

    Very beautifully written and certainly touched my soul. Thanks for taking me along on your journey!

  • Reply
    November 15, 2011 at 10:03 am

    Sweet story Mrs. Jones. God Bless You!!

  • Reply
    Rosann Kent
    November 15, 2011 at 8:39 am

    Ms. Jones, this was beautiful. Anyone who has lost someone they love know what it means to revisit those special places.
    Good to see you at the Byron Herbert Reece meeting — his farm and heritage center in north Georgia is one of those special places.

  • Reply
    Sheryl Paul
    November 15, 2011 at 8:30 am

    Be4autiful and sad.

  • Reply
    Karen Larsen
    November 15, 2011 at 8:29 am

    What beautiful words today from Ethelene. They say, “you can’t go back again”, but sometimes you just have to! After all, the place Ethelene describes sounds so beautiful that it would be a shame to not visit there anymore. I’m sure her husband was right there with her.

  • Reply
    Laura @ Laura Williams' Musings
    November 15, 2011 at 8:26 am

    What a nice story. My heart goes out to Mrs. Jones on the loss of her husband.

  • Reply
    November 15, 2011 at 8:10 am

    These words really touched a place in my heart, and I will read them again another day. I, also, have used walks in the mountains to heal me during trying and hard times. I especially appreciated the way she was able to paint a picture with her words. What a gift! Tipper, thank you so much for letting me start my day with writing from this remarkable lady.

  • Reply
    Jim Casada
    November 15, 2011 at 8:01 am

    Ethelene–Nicely done, although I would disagree with you (and Robert Frost) on “nothing gold can stay.” The Smokies are golden forever more, at least in my view.
    Jim Casada

  • Reply
    Eva M. Wike, Ph.D.
    November 15, 2011 at 7:52 am

    Ethelene: How quickly I relate to your mindful and heart-felt words regarding your lonely trek through the woods. I feel your sadness and your brave determination to be a participant in this beautiful place we call home! May your Thanksgiving be filled with peace and cheerful encounters with those you love.
    Love and devotion,
    Eva Nell

  • Reply
    Uncle Al
    November 15, 2011 at 7:38 am

    Such a heart-felt description of the beauty found in the natural worlds of this place, summoned I’m sure by wonderful memories of visits of the past. It does, or should, cause us to reflect on what we have both with us and in our hearts. Thank you so much for sharing!

  • Reply
    B f
    November 15, 2011 at 7:28 am

    i can sympathise with ethelene
    i lost my husband feb this yr and
    the way is long and hard , and no one can feel what we are feeling at this time but we have our memories
    fall has been such a beautiful and nostalgic time , the hills of ky seem much steeper and the road is long but we keep pressing on to the mark
    God bless each of you and especially ethelene

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