This is an enormous poplar tree in Joyce Kilmer Memorial Forest. The photographer Jon Bowman (jondbowman.net/ ) takes amazing shots of nature in the beautiful NC mountains (and other places) and sells them. I have a large copy of this one hanging in my foyer. My ex gave it to me one year for Mother’s Day. Sometimes, especially on very hot days, I stand in front of this photo and look up and imagine I really am at the foot of this magnificent specimen. I can feel the breeze and smell the earth. And for a moment or two I feel a little cooler. As I’ve mentioned before, Joyce Kilmer is a virgin forest in the SW North Carolina mountains and is truly a national treasure. I hope to go back for a hike and a visit in October. Or maybe sooner would be a good idea.
The mountains always call me back, especially this time of year. There is something cleansing and renewing about all the green. I used to hear an expression when I was growing up: You can take the girl out of the mountains but you can’t take the mountains out of the girl. This adage is used both for and against us mountain girls. I remember its use as an insult to our twangy accents when we really were just girls. The kind aspect of it, I think, is that we belong to the mountains. They are very much a part of who we are even after we’ve moved to flatter terrain like where I live now. Even after we lose the twang and get ourselves educated.
(Note: This is my favorite Life is Good t-shirt.)
Okay, so I started writing about mountains because thinking about cooler air makes me feel better, if only briefly. But while I’m on the topic I think I might like to address my pet peeve. Southern people in general and southern mountain people in particular are usually portrayed in movies and on television as less than intelligent (and that’s an understatement.) Well, I resent it. And when we were children at school we wore clean clothing and our faces were clean. I can’t tell you how many otherwise good shows I’ve seen where every mountain child had a wouldn’t-this-look-Hollywood-cool dirty face and tattered dress or overalls. Come on, people! And another thing–I did not marry my cousin nor do I know anyone who did.
I think I can lay this one to rest now. I hope I’ve entertained you at least a little. Thanks for reading.