Monday, November 13, 2006

Can You See?

One of the greatest fears as I write about the hills and hollers of Appalachia, the mountains of my youth and the mountains that will cradle me as I age, is that when the reader looks they will not see what I see.  I fear that when you, dear reader, look into my little part of the mountains you will see only trees, thick woods and will walk right past the wonders I speak of so often.

I suppose that I am something like human rose colored glasses.  Showing you a world that is so easily common, but so particularly wonderful to those that will stop and feel the earth neath their feet, smell the sweetness of the mountain laurel or sourwood, see the richness of the greens that make up the hillside of trees, brush and sweet grasses.

I would love to dip a bucket of water, taste it and offer you a glass (maybe in a mason jar reserved for the most important of visitors) just as a wine steward would in a New York restaurant... waiting for you to smell the subtle nuances of the spring water, to know that cress grows just up the creek and filters the spring water to give it the sweetness just lingering on your palate.

I would have you taste the red and white acorn with me to show you that the red has more tannin in it and it is bitter, so the deer and turkey naturally leave it till last.  Once you would taste you would always know as you see the deer kick through the leaves looking for the sweet white oak acorns.

We would pull up a little sassafras sapling and wipe the dirt away to make tea from the root, pour sourwood honey in it bought from my neighbor and sip from old  and chipped china cups left me by Great Aunts who lived and died in the hills and who await the last trumpet on a hillside in Clay County, Kentucky.

I am a voice, crying in the wilderness, yes.  My cry is not one of repentance, but a cry to stop, look to the hills from which we, many of us came.  Listen to our hearts and hear the heart cry that calls to us, feel the beat of the heart of the mountain in our very chests and know we are connected, blood, bones, flesh and spirit to the hills.

"Come home, come home, come home" is the cry of homestead and hidden holler.  There is a place for us.  It is home, it is us, it is Appalachia.
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