Thursday, September 08, 2011

I guess I'll begin with the mountains

I've been home from my vacation for a few days now, still not completely unpacked or completely settled into my old routines. As good as it always feels to come home, I'm reluctant to let go of the spiritual uplift that was an apparent gift of the Smoky Mountains.

It was great to spend time with my sister. I enjoyed our easy companionship and the retelling of old family stories that only the two of us remember now. We started our journey by driving to Asheville, North Carolina, and ended it when we left the Gatlinburg/Pigeon Forge area of Tennessee to come home. In between we spent part of one day at a Cherokee village, another part of the same day on the Blue Ridge Parkway, another day exploring the grandeur of the Biltmore Estate, and still another whole day traveling back through time on one-lane roads through the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

It was amazing.

So, I guess I'll start in the middle, with the mountains as viewed from the Blue Ridge Parkway. I have to say that pictures I've seen of the Smoky Mountains don't begin to do them justice, and you can say the same thing about my own photos that accompany this post. "Purple mountains' majesty," a songwriter's attempt to describe them, falls just short. They are splendid. They are grand. They're magnificent, spectacular, breathtaking, and I'm not talented enough to describe how it felt to be traveling so high among those peaks, sheer cliffs on one side of us, deep drop-offs on the other, our ears popping again and again as we rose and descended.

I couldn't stop myself from taking photos of the mountains at every lookout point, even though I worried that all the photos would look alike. They don't. Each image has its own mountains, its own clouds, its own greenery, all arranged uniquely as if by the hand of God.


  1. Beautiful! It is so refreshing to see lush green scenery and smoke that did not come from a wild fire.

  2. Gorgeous! If I were there I could spend a whole day just looking at the mountains.

    I remember as a child when we drove to Florida, the road went through the mountains and I was amazed when my dad said we were driving through clouds. I couldn't imagine being that high up.

  3. Annette, that fire is something else! How far away from you is it?

    Janet, I think the reason photos don't give a sense of the awe one feels in the mountains is that they show just a narrow slice of the view, while the actual view goes on for miles and miles and miles around.

  4. Gorgeous. I love Asheville and the Biltmore (filmed there several times!)

    I still hope to make it up to the Grove Park Inn for an iced tea on that magnificent back porch someday!

  5. I wish I could walk the appalichan trail. I have read there are homes in that forest just like they were the day people walked away from them.
    I read a book once written by a fellow who walked the trail from Maine to Georgia with a back pack and a dog. it was a good read.

  6. That reminds me of when I was on a cross-country trip with a friend and we were in the Grand Tetons, they took my breath away. I said that I felt closer to God looking at those mountains than I ever did in church.

  7. Holly, we loved exploring Asheville and the Biltmore, and though we only saw the Grove Park Inn in passing, it was impressive and beautiful, too.

    Patsy, walking the Appalachian Trail would be like time travel of a different, less frantic sort, and I wish I could walk it with you. That book sounds interesting; if you think of the title of it, please let me know.

    Janet, I know exactly what you mean. This old hymn says it all:

    "This is my Father's world,
    and to my listening ears
    all nature sings and round me rings
    the music of the spheres.
    This is my Father's world:
    I rest me in the thought
    of rocks and trees, of skies and seas,
    His hands the wonders wrought.

    "This is my Father's world,
    the birds their carols raise,
    the morning light, the lily white,
    declare their Maker's praise.
    This is my Father's world:
    He shines in all that's fair;
    in the rustling grass I hear Him pass;
    He speaks to me everywhere."

    In church? Um, not so much.


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