Appalachia

Shocking Mountains

Mountain view

If you’ve read Blind Pig and The Acorn for any length of time you’ve heard me opine about the beautiful mountains I’m blessed to live among. Their very presence makes me feel safe and secure.

Chitter has been sending us photos from her trip out west and I’ve been amazed by the sights she’s shared as she crossed the United States. When she was in Iowa, one photo showed the open prairie with a couple of trees in a little group in the distance. I told The Deer Hunter “Reckon every animal and person in the area visits the trees to have a little shade and cover?”

I could just see it in my mind—animals and people flocking to the set of trees all at the same time desperate for the safety they offered. Of course my feelings come from the fact that I’ve only lived in the middle of a heavily forested region of the country and literally cannot fathom living in such a wide open space.

Although I’m in love with the smoky blue clad mountains I live in they still jump up and surprise me every year when green up has happened.

I’ll be driving to and fro as I go about my life and suddenly I see the mountains in their newly leafed out glory hugged right up next to the road I’m on. As my eyes drink in the sight I’m shocked by their size, color, and beauty.

Last night’s video: Dorie Woman of the Mountains 16.

Tipper

Subscribe for FREE and get a daily dose of Appalachia in your inbox

You Might Also Like

26 Comments

  • Reply
    Catherine Spence
    May 16, 2022 at 7:39 am

    I think I could learn to be happy anywhere that’s rural, whether flat or mountainous, but my heart will always be in the mountains, especially the Alleghenies of Virginia and West Virginia. They’re my lifeline.

  • Reply
    Patty hansen
    May 15, 2022 at 8:34 pm

    I live surrounded by hay lots & pasture bordered by hedgerows and woodlots. I can see in all 4 directions around my house. I tell my kids I never want to live in the woods – I want to see whats heading my way in all directions at all times! Can’t stand a closed in feeling & I love to look at the pastures as the grass is rippling in the wind, and shadows cast by the clouds as they scud across the sky. I like being able to see people coming down the road a piece. Do you all “hello the house” where you are? We do. We walk to our neighbors and yell a hearty hello, so they will know we’re there & we don’t catch them unsuspecting.

  • Reply
    Jenny Young
    May 15, 2022 at 2:01 pm

    I grew up in southern WV & married a man from the rice fields of southern Arkansas. The first time he took me to meet his grandmother I could feel his excitement the closer we got to home. He kept pausing & asking what I thought…anticipation in his voice. What could I say? Oh my I did not like it at all….so flat & open. Nothing to hide behind, it just made me feel too vulnerable.
    When we married in WV, his family came to see the mountains for the first time. His mother let me know just how much she hated them….she said it felt like they were going to bury her alive. Where I always felt so safe & happy in the mountains.

    We’ve lived over 30 yrs in the Ozarks of northwest Arkansas…our compromise. It’s become home to us & I could never live anywhere else now even though I do sometimes long for the real mountains of WV. Funny thing is though, when we travel to the rice fields, I feel anticipation. I can see the beauty of it now that I couldn’t see when I was young. But I think it has more to do with the people who loved me into their family than what the land looks like.

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    May 14, 2022 at 6:43 pm

    To have mountains you have to have valleys. Valleys are what make mountains mountains. I live down in the Catawba River Valley. Not on the river, that’s where all the money lives, not even in sight of it.
    When I moved here in 1993 I could see mountains to the North and West of me. We’re talking about the likes of Grandfather Mountain, Table Rock and Linville Gorge where the Linville River flows into Lake James. On really clear days I could pick what I think is Mount Mitchell, the highest peak in the Eastern United States. In the almost 30 years since ’93, trees have grown up around me so that I cannot see a mountain from anywhere on my property. Not one! It’s not my trees. None of them! I feel like I am in a box. Now I have to drive a half a mile just to see a mountain. Not the panorama I saw in ’93 which prompted me to buy the place, just a portion of it.

    Psalms 121:1-2 says ” I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. My help cometh from the Lord, which made heaven and earth.” I still lift my eyes and trust that the Lord is still there is His hills.

  • Reply
    Marion W. Ferrell - aka M. Fearghail
    May 14, 2022 at 3:51 pm

    Howdy, Tipper! I hope that you and yours are getting along well enough! It’s been a while. You made a great comment, on my Saturday, December 12, 2009, article, “House Mountain & Devil’s Nose” (https://www.appalachianirishman.com/2009/12/house-mountain-devils-nose.html). I’m glad to “stop by, with a cup of coffee,” to visit you a while! I am very glad to know that you have been keeping your website active! (I’ve been doing the same.) If you don’t mind, I plan to link your website, in my “Appalachian Heritage” section of websites. May God bless you and yours! I’m still standing here. I ain’t breathing hard! (See my “I’M STILL ALIVE – WHY? (Published 8/26/2016)” article for details.

  • Reply
    Margie G
    May 14, 2022 at 3:42 pm

    You are not kidding about the beauty and majesty of these Blue Ridges never getting old to the eyes! They are eye candy whereas an empty prairie and few trees would be an eye sore to me… lol Take it from a person who’s traveled a lot, these mountains are glorious and home. Like a large bosomed loving grandma, they always snuggle me in and say welcome home, girl!

  • Reply
    Patti
    May 14, 2022 at 1:34 pm

    Tipper, I’ve always thought of the mountains as if they were a mother, keeping us safe from harm.
    Thank you so much for your wonderful posts.

    • Reply
      Kathy Patterson
      May 15, 2022 at 9:12 pm

      Hi Patti,
      Here in the Blue Ridge, we are either on top of the mountains looking down into sprawling hollers covered with trees and gurgling branches or we are down in the holler looking up or to the side of a mountain (we call hill) stretched out before us. Here on the farm the mountains are all around us. Daddy farmed on the tops of the hills while the cows and sheep pastured the slopes. To help them move from one place to the other on the slopes they would follow each other. After several years these paths became trails. We called them cow paths. They always had a gentle grade. Sheep and cows would follow the same trail. My brother and I would walk along these paths. Usually they were pounded into hard red dirt with tall grass growing along the edges. The grass was there because of the animal droppings. For some unbeknown reason cows never messed in the path but sheep were another story. We had to wear our shoes because of them. The cows and sheep are gone from the farm replaced with hardwood and Christmas Tree managed forests. There are still paths through the woods thanks to our dogs, our deer, and yes, our resident black bear. These paths offer us a cool and refreshing way to see the wild flowers in the spring and the brilliant leaves in the fall. Sometimes we get really brave and walk on the trails during an ice storm to see the glittering ice covered branches and the weighted down white pine tree tips. If we are lucky and the dogs haven’t barked, we can sneak up on a deer or even a rabbit. That is so special to us and we just stand and point with our mouth hung open and our eyes wide and glaring.
      Our little house is built on top of one of the farm’s “hills”. In front of it is the Big Reed Island Creek Holler. Technically it is a gorge but I like the term holler. Sounds more inhabited. The Creek or River as we call it has a long row of mountains that forms its right bank for most of its course from the Carroll County line to where it enters the New River At Claytor Lake. These mountains are to steep to farm and are a haven for animals. I rejoice sitting in the front yard and watching the mountain and its treasures throughout the year. In the spring I am usually able to spy on the bear sun beside his favorite rock cliff or scratch on the old rotten chestnut tree for grubs. In the summer all the timber’s leaves have grow to the point I can’t spy on the bear but I turn my attention to Liberty and Justice, our Bald Eagles that are trying to best to keep the fledglings in their charge fed, safe, and clean. Both struggle with raids from the ospreys and crows. As fall moves in I have to wear a heavy coat while I sit in the front yard. The first tree to change color is the ancient Maple tree beside the road that predates me. It is always orange and yellow. Then the Black Gum turns on its color with bright red leaves slowly followed by the maples and last the oaks with their mauves and browns. When the parade of color is over and winter has set in I am forced to go inside and and watch the mountain from my front room’s sliding glass door that covers one side of the wall. All the leaves are gone. The bear has slipped inside his underground den, and the temperatures drop below freezing each night. The river freezes first along the rocks that liter its main channel and then slowly the ice takes over most of the river. The poor heron is still standing in the ice-less parts– fishing. I am watching from my warm perch the interaction of ice and bird. Absolutely beautiful.
      Just as winter snuck in, it sneaks out and once again I can sit in my front yard watching for the bear, the eagles, and what ever else has taken up home in my beloved ancient mountains. I always ponder how wonderful and amazing God has been to me and my family for allowing us to live here for many generations. I hope and pray that God will allow us to continue our lives here for many more seasons and generations to come. Kathy Patterson

      • Reply
        Patty Hansen
        May 17, 2022 at 6:45 am

        Kathy, you should send this in to a magazine for publication. Its a beautifully put, seasonal description. I could visualize the vista from your words. You never know…Maybe you’d get published! My daughter, who is 15, just sent a piece in the MaryJanes Farm mag. & is waiting on whether her story will be picked. They have topics for each issue (go online & check it out) and maybe your stirring story would fit.

  • Reply
    Pastor Lon
    May 14, 2022 at 1:04 pm

    Amen Miss Tipper, it’s amazing to me to see all the Green Up that has taken place there since we were there with you guys in March as I stated in one of your videos. The only time we had ever been to the mountains prior to our trip up their a few weeks ago to pick up our honey bees was either in the Fall or Winter seasons over the past 20 plus years. Robbie Lynn & I were amazed how different the Great Smoky Mountains looked all GREENED UP! I like looking at pictures of other places like all the places Katie is traveling through, but right here in the South East on the country is where I wanna be. ❤️

  • Reply
    Marilyn
    May 14, 2022 at 11:48 am

    Tipper – Here in Kentucky we love our trees, just as you do. However, we lived for 20 years in Far West Texas, which is high desert country. Let me tell you, it took some getting used to! We learned to love it, though, and still miss it. What I appreciated most was the poeple (we loved ’em!) andtheir opinions of trees. Out there one can see literally for miles and miles, and when those folks come East they feel hemmed in by all the trees. One fellow said he and his wife had been visiting family in the Carolinas and they could hardly wait to get home where they could see!
    Another friend had driven on I-64 through a stretch of National Forest, and she said “you can’t tell WHO might be back in those trees! I loved the change in perspective!

  • Reply
    Randy
    May 14, 2022 at 9:37 am

    I have always loved the mountains. Any time we could we would take a day trip up through the mountains of Oconee and Pickens counties of SC and sometimes cross over into NC. I live in one of the most rural areas left in Greenville County, SC. and can watch the woods or forest green up in the springtime. I wonder how much longer it will last when every tract of land is being bought up by developers and turned into a housing development with the homes being so close the roofs almost touch. If the rumors are true, 300 home are going to be built on a tract of land my wife’s granddaddy farmed for cotton. This is straight across the highway from the large Greenville County landfill. I wonder how many will buy these homes and then start complaining about the noise, traffic, and smell. No he did not own the land, he was a sharecropper. There goes all of your trees and animals that lived on that land.

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    May 14, 2022 at 9:34 am

    Amen Tipper. I read somewhere once a statement about how many colors the human eye can distinguish. (Didn’t say how that was figured out.) I do not recall it, but it was in the millions I think it was. With that idea in mind, I wonder how many colors there are to be seen in Appalachia in clear air on still days. How many shades of green are there in an Appalachian spring? How many shades of blue in an Appalachian summer? How many shades of “earth tones” in an Appalachian fall? How many shades of black, white and gray in an Appalachian winter? Short answer, too many to count and many of those without a name. In other words, a feast of the eyes year-round. Now add in fog, clouds, rain, snow, sunrise, sunset and twilight and give up thinking like that and just enjoy and be grateful.

    By the way, yesterday we had the prettiest clouds we have yet had this calendar year. The sky between was so blue and the clouds were fat and fluffy with variously gray and/or blue accents. It was a day to take landscape pictures and be awed. There is a story told of a woman who, years ago, reached the top of Mount Yonah near Helen, GA and she cried. The bible tells us “the morning stars sang” at the creation. ECC3:11 He hath made every thing beautiful in his time:..

    • Reply
      Anita Napier
      May 14, 2022 at 3:18 pm

      We had the most beautiful sky’s here in Eastern KY yesterday also. And the moon lighting it all up last night was glorious! God has made us a beautiful earth, I can’t imagine what Heaven will look like!

  • Reply
    carolyn Kutulas
    May 14, 2022 at 9:30 am

    Tipper
    If they come anywhere near Washington state I live in Richland and if they let me know I will be happy to take them to lunch. I live in the desert part of the state but they have many vineyards.
    Carolyn

  • Reply
    Gene Smith
    May 14, 2022 at 9:19 am

    Reading today’s blog I immediately thought of Psalm 121: “I will lift up my eyes unto the hills. From whence does my help come? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth….The Lord is your keeper; the Lord is your shade on your right hand.”

  • Reply
    Mint2Bee
    May 14, 2022 at 8:55 am

    I love what you said about how the mountains jump up and surprise you every year. It never gets old does it? A perfect example of God’s glory all around us and being appreciative of His creation.

  • Reply
    Shirl
    May 14, 2022 at 8:42 am

    One of the most breathtaking views is to stand on an overlook in Breaks Interstate Park and be surrounded by nothing but mountains as far as the eyes can see.

    • Reply
      Anita Napier
      May 14, 2022 at 3:20 pm

      The Breaks is gorgeous as all of KY is! I love the Appalachian mountains!

  • Reply
    JC
    May 14, 2022 at 8:37 am

    I’ve lived all over the USA: coastal areas, prairies, cities, suburbs, even near the Rocky Mountains. I always, always come back home to the Smokies. Be it green up, a Joseph’s Coat of color in the Fall, or the ice-covered crystal Cathedral of Winter, it’s beautiful and comforting to me. It’s where my folk are from and where I’ll be staying until I die.

  • Reply
    John T
    May 14, 2022 at 8:30 am

    Those mountains down there are beautiful. I really enjoy the background in your videos especially when you’re driving somewhere. I still hope to move to eastern Tennessee someday.

  • Reply
    Christine
    May 14, 2022 at 8:27 am

    My family travel each year through the mountains to visit extended family. We either travel northwards through WV or westwards to TN. I love seeing how majestic the mountains are at different times of the year. The mountains are part of God’s glory in His creation!
    Many years back, my hubby and I have traveled through different states on the East and mid west. None have captivated me with their beauty as much as the mountains I grew up in and now travel to visit each year. God truly has blessed us with the mountains. Now I do love the beach too and am always in aww of seeing the never ending ocean and it’s beautiful beaches. I always felt as the waves came in and then pulled back into the sea it took my built up stress with it. I had always fancied the thought of moving there, but as time has passed and places have changed on our last visit to the beach I told my hubby I now realize the beach might be a nice place to visit, but now days, I’d rather be somewhere with a view of the majestic mountains. I guess you can take the girl out of mountains, but you can’t take the mountains out of the girl.

  • Reply
    Judi Vertefeuille
    May 14, 2022 at 7:11 am

    You are right Tipper your Smokey Mountains are beautiful. Last month I was visiting with some relatives in your town. I have to admit Mt. roads scare me, especially driving in a 30 ft. motor home around some blind cures and such. It does not take away from the beauty of the area. Hope to see it all blossomed out sometime.

  • Reply
    Glenda G. Page
    May 14, 2022 at 7:10 am

    Such an ending to Dorie. I find the epilogue very interesting. I t almost sounded as if he was challenging some of the book and what was written, or maybe that is the way I saw it. At any rate, I could almost close my eyes as you described Dorie’s life and see the mountains, trees, timber clearing, etc….so interesting. Can’t wait to see where you take us next week. God Bless…ps yes I am ‘touring’ with the girls.

  • Reply
    Gail
    May 14, 2022 at 7:08 am

    I’m always amazed at the variety of green color on the trees in the spring. Spring color is almost as varied as autumn.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    May 14, 2022 at 6:22 am

    I know Tipper, I am always stunned anew when the green up happens. We go along through the winter without the foliage on the trees then it seems like it happens overnight. One day we get up and everything is green and lush and once again I am in awe of our lush green mountains all around me! For several days I am enraptured by the mountains then slowly life comes back to normal.
    Truley….. we don’t call this God’s Country for nothing!

  • Leave a Reply