Appalachia Through My Eyes - Beech Trees
Appalachia Through My Eyes - Tiger Crown Bricks

Our Southern Mountains

Today's guest post was written by Ed Myers.

Shining Rock Wilderness Haywood Co NC


There’s a freedom in the southern mountains that both hides and provides.

Oh, there are elements of it here and there in the United States and elsewhere in the world. On the upcountry plains. The simmering bayous. The endless echoes swept aside by desert winds. The places that speak within.

But, here, it’s different somehow. It’s concentrated in ways that settle on the mind and make the lives of ages.

The freedom of mystery, of mountaintops and midnight rides.

Anyone who lives here knows this.

Falling water…never far.

Not knowing what may arise beyond each bend. The not knowing that illuminates when the telephone’s chatter dissolves in static.

The mysteries of each hollow that waits through lifetimes for the trees to have their say. The people of them who wait through lifetimes to have their own.

It is the freedom of silence, of stepping on a mountaintop to look upon the backs of clouds.

An enduring freedom that cleans and satisfies.

It is a young girl, now grown old, who tells her grandson of her greatest day, when she rode bareback through the darkness without thought of destination.

It is the southern mountains.

Ed Myers Bryson City, NC


I hope you enjoyed Ed's thoughts as much as I did-every time I read over his words it makes me think "Yep that's it-you got it. I'm so glad these southern mountains are my home."

Leave Ed a comment and I'll make sure he reads it.


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What a beautiful tribute. I can only now comment because every time I read it, I get so homesick and teary-eyed I can hardly stand it. God, how I miss "my" mountains.

His words painted pictures that my mind could see.

God bless.


I like to imagine that if God came back to Earth, not to claim His own, but to reflect on His creation; if He took earthly form and walked His many lands, I think He would lay himself down and find peaceful rest when He came to these mountains. And, when He got up and continued, He would say, “I am satisfied that my work has been good.”

When I sit down to write, I always have in mind that it will come out like Ed Myers' writing. I hear my words in my mind sounding maybe like Ed's. But I've read my stuff over and over, months later ... years later ... it's not there. And when I write and when I read what I thought was good; I see that I never have got it down and never do get the poetry like Ed does. I never do make words that, like some inebriant, cause pictures in the mind.

There is no peace like seeing these hills after having been away. God smiled on me when he put me here and I am so thankful for it.

Enjoyed reading his words. I love our mountains and would not want to live anywhere else.

It's in our blood. How could we ever fight it? Close your eyes and listen to that stream in the front yard. That's the voice of God. Constant, ancient, paternal, and reassuring. I love you buddy.
Your cousin,

A beautiful tribute!
I think mountains are magical wherever they occur.

Thank you Ed-you made my day!

Thanks for the post and to Ed for a great look into what make this place so great. I'm away from 'home' right now attending school, but reading this made me miss the mountains so much. Coming from a long line of Southern Highlanders, my place is in the mountains, and I hope to take my son back there soon so he can learn all that the mountains have to teach.

Last Sunday I was returning home, (Jonesboro,TN)after being away for a little over three weeks. I was in Birmingham, AL, had been to Seaside, FL and then out to OK City. Had tickets to a concert in Asheville, N.C. that night so instead of taking the interstate through Atlanta I decided to travel 74E which I picked up in Cleveland, TN to Asheville. I was so glad I did, the most beautiful drive I've been on in years. God's country for sure. The most ironic part,I stopped at a rest stop near Ft. Andrews where they rounded up the Cherokee and sent them out to OK. I cried a few more tears for my ancestors that had to leave their beautiful home.

Mountains are liberating. Hiking a 5,000-foot ridge-line provides a moral as well as a geographic perspective. Up there, where "God lies sleeping in his big white beard," we see the peaks and valleys of our hopes and dreams.

Thank you, Ed, for the beautiful thoughts, so beautifully expressed; and thank you, Tipper, for sharing them. I came to WNC 26 years ago and immediately had a sense of "home." Having grown up in a place of larger everything (mountains, rivers, wide open spaces) it surprised me. Maybe it's because my maternal grandparents originated in Ark and Ala...don't know, don't care. I'm HOME!

I think there's a freedom in every mountain regardless of where this is located.

Would love to visit your mountains sometime. Enjoyed Ed's writing.

I think Mr. Myers hit it just about right. Nice job and thanks
for the passion, its our home.

How I love those mountains. I've lived a lifetime in many other places and I can truly say that those southern mountains are in my heart and soul forever. Still longing to return and find a cabin where I can look out over those beautiful vistas that the Lord surely blessed us with. Thank you for the post and the picture you painted.

Outsiders wrongly assume that we and our ancestors were and are trapped in Appalachia by poverty and ignorance. Let 'em think what they will! We know better! We are trapped by love for a land and a lifestyle that our ancestors chose for us. And, I thank God daily they did. I am proud of what I am and where came from.

Fine emotions expressed in so few words. I've never visited your mountains but I recognise the feeling.

Ed points out why the Cherokee loved the mountains and resisted being moved West, the charm of their homeland was one thing that led to the removal as the independant Scotch-Irish and Palentine settlers loved the area they discovered where they could live free sustained by the labor of their hands and away from the interference of those governments which would dictate to them. Unfortunately the descendants of these independant settlers have found that the beauty and remoteness of the area that drew their ancestors has now drawn many who would change these very attributes which make the area so special. Thankfully there are many like Tipper who fight to retain the uniqueness of the Southern Appalachains by keeping and sharing our heritage when many would change it to be like "where I came from".

Thank you for this post. Makes me want be at our cabin right now! My husband and I are planning, provided all goes as we hope, on heading there in early April to live in our cabin for a year, being able to enjoy each and every minute of our southern mountains. Reading this post helps me know we are on the right path!

Beautiful words, Ed-- thank you!

Miss Cindy-Has a bit of pent up poetry bubbled out and spilt across this mornings page.
Ed-Me thinks you've busted open a fresh barrel of emotions for today.

and Ed Myers thank you for reminding us of the reasons we love our mountains...Thanks Tipper for sharing...

Dear Ed Myers: Thank you for a beautiful and heart-felt reminder of our magnificent mountins. I am going to share your thoughts with a 'new' friend of mine in Lloret de Mar, Gerona SPAIN. The last day of March she will arrive for a visit in the Tennessee Mountains - where I live - and I know your thoughts will be enlightening to her!

Best regards,
Eva Nell Mull Wike, Author:
"The Matheson Cove - In the Shadow of the Devil's Post Office"

Its a place that reaches out to you and you grasp for it.Its a place where the crickets chirp their song and the whiperwill sings solo,Its where the flames of the nightly bonfire dance on the mist of the nights cool air, Its where you snuggle the feather bed mattress and the feathered pillow,Its where you feel the cool breeze coming through the open window, Its the place you call home.

Thanks for this, Ed. As a person who left the mountains in 1978 to seek his fortune and is working on returning, I can tell you that I don't believe that these mountains ever leave you, no matter where you may find yourself.

Yes, that's it. That's our gentle southern mountains, different from any other mountains on this earth. She cradles and protects us.
She adorns herself for our entertainment then bares herself that we may know quiet, truth and humility.

Thank you Ed, your words have touched my heart this, almost, spring Sunday morning. I love these mountains too, can you tell! lol

Thank you, Ed Myers, for writing the cogent description of our mountains and our people, and thanks, Tipper, for sharing his well-stated thoughts. I don't know if those new-comers to the mountains quite get the same deep-set impression as we who were born and reared there. Those of us mountain-born who left because, sometimes,of circumstances beyond our control, are ever going back as much as we can, physically; and if not physically, then in our mind's eye and heart's desire. Thank you!

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