Pastorial Spring

"the view from the parking lot of Calvary Missionary Baptist Church on Rush Branch Rd in the Bethel community. Over the yonder distant ridge is Tennessee."

This is what I love about Marie's Blue Ridge blog. It just makes the intention to relocate that much stronger...

The call of high places…

What is it about some people that causes them to always try to get to the highest place around? All of my life I have climbed to the top of the highest vantage point (and growing up on the Gulf coast of Texas, that usually meant a tree).

For years and years my favorite trips were to the Texas Hill Country out west of Austin. Even then I was chasing my roots, though at the time I had no clue. Turns out a couple of Generations of my family lived and loved, raised kids (Lord did they raise kids) and buried the loved ones that passed on. And they did it in a part of Texas that actually has topography unlike the counties I spent my growing up years in.

This photo shows Enchanted Rock on the horizon. It is one of my favorite spots in the center of Texas. This is what we here on the Texas Gulf Coast call a mountain...see the house in front, it's only a mile or so from the base of the Rock.

Other than a car trip in the early ‘60’s to Ohio to visit my dad’s twin sister, I had never really enjoyed mountains. The only tall places I could visit around home were the man-made mountains in downtown Houston. I started visiting the observation deck at the top of the Humble Oil Building in the late ‘60’s and continued to make periodic trips up to see the sites until they closed it when it’s 50+ stories no longer topped the skyline of Houston.

It was on a business trip in early March of 2000 that I had a chance to run up into the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. The first day was a day that most of the people living in the area would recognize; totally fogged in…couldn’t see 50 yards down the road, much less the view from the overlooks. I cruised from Blowing Rock to Little Switzerland and didn’t see a thing. The next day the weather in Charlotte was clear and beautiful so I decided to try again. When I drove up the switchbacks above Lake James and then south down the Blue Ridge Parkway to where the road was closed, I was in awe. I stopped at overlook after overlook and stood in the sun with the icy wind in my face looking at the vistas until my eyes watered from the cold, but still I stared. The one thing that I will never forget was the thrill I got when I rounded the curve and drove out on the Linn Cove Viaduct for the first time. This has to be the most beautiful piece of engineering I have ever seen, and, to this day every time I cross those graceful curves I still feel a thrill.

That trip was the beginning of my love affair with these mountains of North Carolina. I have visited other mountains since, but I am always drawn back to the Blue Ridges that sheltered my ancestors so many years ago, and hopefully, will shelter me and mine in the years ahead…


Fred First asks "Where Are You from?" and adds a template to help answer the question . Check out his page and make your own life poem.

Where I'M From by Gary Boyd

I am from books by the dozen that started me dreaming, from Lava Soap and bare feet in summer always dirty.
I am from the Deep South, coastal plains and high clouds; sky as big as the whole of existence; sun and heat, humidity and rain (sometimes at the same time).
I am from the oak, the broad shade of summer; large comforting limbs for imaginary castles: height in a world that lacked hills.
I am from potato soup and corn bread, from Linville’s and Sewell’s and Pearson’s.
I am from the men of shiny skulls and mother hens who ruled the roost.
From Indian Princesses and Sooners (they thought).
I am from Baptist traditions with new age tendencies. Looking to the Far East for a guiding set of principles I am pulled in different ways.
I'm from four generations of Texans coming from North Carolina via many routes, pinto beans and bacon and biscuits.
From the great-grandmother who died too young, the grandfather who didn’t mind the questions I chattered, and the father who was always gone.
I am from the pictures my mother keeps safe, the history I have tracked down in courthouse basements and now pass on to the cousins who care, the old bibles hiding in sock drawers that listed those who came before me who I never knew.

Why I’m doing this…

For a number of years now I’ve been trying different methods to get in the habit of journaling. I am not sure what it is I am trying to do here; I don’t know what keeps me going back to the books and mags on journaling…Something keeps pushing me to say something and I guess the only way to figure out what is to just go ahead and try saying something…

I have been watching (and reading) blogs since almost the beginning, give or take a year or so, maybe. I remember stumbling onto Ev and Meg way back when they were in startup mode. I always thought they were on to something. Now, I’m getting to a new place in my life and find the urge to do my thinking in the “blogosphere” more compelling. Most of the blogs I have been reading in the past four years have tended to be political, but, now I am finding that I don’t like being mad at the system all the time (even though I believe I should be). So, for the last few months I have been reading a different group of blogs, what some are calling “location blogs”.

These blogs remind me of one of my favorite local newspaper columnists, Leon Hale. Leon has been writing a column here in Houston for my entire life (just to set the record straight, I was born in 1954). He started with the Houston Post and then moved to the Houston Chronicle before the Post folded up it’s tent and left the city with just one paper. If you would like to check out what I think a pre-computer blog would look like, take a look at his writing. I always thought Mr. Hale must have one the best jobs there was, even though I never could figure out how he managed to keep coming up with new stories. Can you imagine, three to four stories a week for over 50 years…go on take a few minute and check out his patter. It’s definitely a Texas voice from the last generation, but it has stories to tell.

Because I have felt a call to the mountains of North Carolina, and the area of Valle Crucis, North Carolina in particular, I have found myself becoming involved with a group of bloggers from the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina and Virginia. The first blog I discovered was Blue Ridge Blog by Marie Freeman. Marie’s photo’s of the Valle Crucis and Boone area keep bringing me back to the Mountains. Marie’s site led next to Fred First and his Fragments From Floyd. I am in the process of reading Fred’s new book “Slow Road Home” and working my way back through his archives, both of which are giving me inspiration that maybe I too can have a life after the corporate world.

All of this is causing me to reach way back into the ‘70’s and some of the things I remember from the Nearing’s books. Maybe it’s time to start my own five year plan for getting into those mountains I have come to love…So Marie and Fred, I’ll be seeing you down my own “slow road home” some time in the future…

Maybe the real question is do I have something to say that anyone else wants to here…The only way to know is to say what I have to say and see if anyone reacts…so the journey begins.

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