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February 26, 2013

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I agree with you.
I miss my Appalachian home. There's no ties for me there now. But I still have that longing for the Appalachian ways.

I can understand this. We moved to the house we were raised in when I was about 10. We grew up there. Our Mother and Grandmother died while we lived there. Our Grandfather died right in the house. That house nurtured many a Redmond, and when our Dad grew too frail to live there alone anymore, our sister and her husband moved in to help and raised their five children there. Then when their children were grown and gone, they moved to a smaller place, and the house went to our niece, and she lived there with her four children. Just recently the house was sold. It was very sad because our Dad loved it so much, and there were so many memories there, but when I prayed on it earnestly, the Lord reminded me of Ecclesiastes 3; there is a time and place for everything, and now our time for that house is over, and now it can be "home" to someone else.

God bless.

RB
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I loved your comments about Appalachia. It is hard to describe the feeling to someone who doesn't feel it. You did a great job of it along with the other comments from readers. I live in Missouri and have most of my life. We live on my husbands great grandparents farm. But my folks are from North Arkansas and I still feel a longing when I here a true Ozark accent in someones voice or see pictures of the Ozark hills. Thanks, it's a comfort to hear others feel like you do!

From Appalachian dirt I was created and to the same I will return. Would I be presumptuous to call myself an Appalachian?

One of your best, most heartfelt posts. Thanks for transporting me to your world.

There's no place like home and Appalchia flows through our veins.. Good post.

How very true!My grandparents left in 1910 for a job in NW Fla.They stayed here but made trips back home.Now I try to get back home to the mountains every chance I can.My dream is to be able to move to live in the only place I feel I belong.I feel such a sense of peace when I am back there.

I have moved a lot and been around people from all over America, and I think this is so true of Appalachia. Even all the way in China, I still long for my mountain home. Many Americans overseas struggle with a sense of place, of being rooted in any culture. That is never hard for me. While my heart may now be in American and China, my soul, the deepest part of my identity, my roots are in Appalachia.

I've only been here 3 short years & can't imagine leaving. We were in the city on an 1/8 of an acre w/ identical houses across & besides us.
I cannot imagine confining my children to such a small world now that I've seen them take 2 mile (vertical climbing!)hikes in stride, rappel down the hill barefoot covered w/ poke berry juice, build leaf forts, dig a million red clay holes, avenge themselves on the ornery rooster & make their miniature TVA projects in the branch. It's the childhood I would have taken, & I have no doubt that they'll grow up w/ a sense of place as well.

Wow!! Tipper you are so right, Appalachia is a very special place. I totally agree that a sense of place is at the heart of Appalachia and its culture. I'm so proud that Appalachia is my home!

Tipper--I guess that in some senses I could be considered a scholar of Appalachia in that I have a scholar's training and have written a good bit about the area and read a great deal.

I've got several things to add to your perceptive blog.

1. You are squarely on track when you say that you don't agree with a fair amount of what scholars of Appalachia have to say. I would simply note that a goodly number of those academic types don't have Appalachian roots. They write OF a place but they are not FROM it. The difference, although difficult to express in words, is a real and tangible one. You simply cannot have quite the same feel, understanding and empathy for the region unless that is where your roots lie.

2. Sense of place is not unique to Appalachia although it is and always has been particularly strong in the region. The Bushmen of the Kalahari in south Africa have a similar love, and the mountain men of that narrow window of time (roughly 1810-1830) seldom wanted to leave the region of the Rockies once exposed to it. That being duly recognized, the pull of Appalachia is undeniably a mighty one.

3. Another factor, and you dance around it in a beguiling way, is the sheer beauty of at least parts of Appalachia--the mountains, the vistas, the vegetation (unmatched in diversity anywhere in the northern hemisphere), and the special outlook of mountain folks--are all factors which set us apart.

The subject is a complex and sometimes confusing one, yet I daresay that virtually everyone who was born and raised in the region knows its pull. In the final analysis it is something better understood by experiencing it than by trying to describe it with words.

Jim Casada
www.jimcasadaoutdoors.com

Tipper,
You've pretty well covered the
feeling of belonging somewhere
and I agree There's No Place Like
Home...Ken

I'm one of those Appalachians who'd tussle with God about staying confined on golden streets and pluckin' harps. That's not heaven to me. Heaven is where ever God is, so HE's Appalachian too... sure glad cuz I get homesick at home.

Nice post, nice comments

Very well put, Tipper. When I was small my family lived in Texas for a few years. My mother hated it and couldn't wait to get back to the mountains.
I feelcradledd in the arms of these mountains. This is my home.
Thanks for your very articulate description of home.

A great post, Tipper. I think you got it right. I am really looking forward to returning.

I have lived most of my life in Appalachia and I absolutely love to see and be around true mountain people. There is a difference between country people, rednecks and mountain people. There is something special about each of the three groups but mountain people seem, in my mind, to just tie themselves more to this place than other people. They live in direct relationship to their holler or bottom or whatever. I love their sense of time and place and change and life. This place is my home and, as my wife says, these WV mountains hug me every morning and hold me close and protect me.

I love living in Appalachia and have only lived outside of these mountains for a short while when I was young. It would really be hard for me to imagine living somewhere else. Your explanations of why we feel this way are very interesting...and very true. I also think that the Appalachian region is the most beautiful place on earth.

and that sense of place brings a feeling of safety, serenity and belonging.....Where ever I am if there's woods to walk in I still get a bit of that feeling.

I feel blessed to be able to experience a sense of place both here in our log cabin in Appalachia and at our river house. I love the simplicity of life here at the cabin, our efforts to be self sufficient...keeping our hands and hearts deep in the mountain soil. I love the expanse of our river place, the ability to watch as the river passes by and the fact that it is closer to family than the cabin. When I am here, I am home. When I am on the river I am home too. But our mountain life is always in my heart, no matter where I am.

I so enjoyed reading this post! I am a native Tennessean, now a resident of Kentucky, and have Cherokee ancestors. You are so on the mark here. I have lived in IN and CO for short periods of time but my heart always yearned to be " home ". The mountains out west have a beauty all their own. Yet for me, the Smokies are THE mountains. Thank you for your writings which help keep our culture alive.

Appalachia commands this feeling from people from all over. I am a 5th generation Floridian, but the 6th generation came from the mountains of NC. Every time I visit that same sense of peace and homecoming comes over me, especially in the forest areas.

Adventure or a sense of place. Each of us either decides or the decision is made for us. Either way we are always wondering how the other path would have turned out. I am envious.

My family has lived in the same area our entire lives and can trace back to the 1700's. As I've gotten older, this has become more and more my "place". The roots are strong that keep me here and the memories warm my heart. Content to stay here
There's no place like home.

Tipper, being a born-there, died-in-the-wool Appalachian person, I think you have well-summarized our reasons for loving our hills of home: Sense of belonging, Generational ties, and Isolation (hard to leave the terrain). As one who moved away and misses the place where I was born and reared, I have a nostalgic turn toward it. Here is a little free-verse thought about our beloved mountains:

The Hills of Home

The hills of home draw me
Their crenelated heights a magnet
Propelling my heart homeward.


The streams of home beckon me
Refreshing water singing songs
In cascades over rocks and rills.

The fields of home entice me
Their call to hard labor
To plow, to plant, to till and harvest.

The folks of home hold me
Their love a strong blood-bond
From patriots of all generations.

The faith of home sustains me
Giving courage in darkest night
Hope with each new day's dawn.

The hills of home will enfold me
The land my ancestors settled
Where I will finally come to rest.
by Ethelene Dyer Jones

We had a saying in Choestoe when our young folks went out to college or to work. My father and aunt reminded me, as many young folks had been reminded before: "As you go, remember where you're from. Don't do anything to bring reproach upon this place or your upbringing." I found that to be very good advice!

My wife grew up on welfare and moved a lot. She doesn't feel an attachment to any place. Everywhere we've been was just a temporary place to her. I grew up in Graham County, NC and Monroe County, TN and always felt a connection to everywhere we've been but none as strong as when I drive through the Western NC mountains.

I really enjoy the mountains and the valleys. I haven't formed an opinion about what people say because I am still learning about it. You present a lot of great information.

Excellent post. My mother grew up moving around and had no "place" that meant the world to her, though a couple places meant more to her than others. My dad grew up on land his father and grandfather farmed and never left it. I grew up the same. It makes a difference.

All these people and posts about the mountains I know I would myself feel the same about the mountains. I have always wanted to be in the high country. Some day I just might make it. It would be like trying to dig a possum out of a creek bank to get me to leave! No way!

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