Featured in Mountains Across the Globe group Dec 2009
(Continued from The Grandfather) This is another view of the south face of Grandfather Mountain from Beacon Heights in western NC. His is a long reclining range of rock promontories; center frame is a view of the western most crests. The famous Linn Cove Viaduct is just east of here on the Blue Ridge Parkway. Viewed from the other side, the range is a profile of a grandfather lying face up and searching the sky. I get a sense that at any moment, he’ll sit up, charge is pipe, take a practiced draw beneath a lighted match, and then the story will come. I can almost smell the aroma of pipe smoke wafting about his brow as wisps of clouds. I’ve heard before the story he’s telling now; it’s called ‘The Man Who Planted Trees,’ but he’s telling a version more tailored to Appalachia. It’s got the smell of spruce and hemlock about it and the feel of sugar maples turning red in autumn breeze. His story goes something like this:
“My grandfather never had much to say to me; he was as distant as those stone peaks there on the horizon. My father was cast from a similar die; as a kid I spent a lot of effort toward attracting their notice. Sometimes when it came, it left a lasting impression on me even after the color underneath my skin had faded away. But that’s all water under the bridge over Wilson Creek.
“There’s just something about the mountains that keeps calling me back,” the grandfather explains. “I found them as a child; it was like my life started over, like in the John Denver song, ‘Rocky Mountain High,’ where he sings, ‘He was born in the summer of his twenty-seventh year, coming home to a place he’d never been before; he left yesterday behind him; you might say he was born again; you might say he found the key to every door.’ Some’ll tell you that JD was singing about himself and his own rebirth in the Rockies; well, I reckon he’s singing for every mother son of us that’s ever drawn that first breathe o’ mountain air and come to know then and there what it means to really be alive (Continued with The Grandfather 3).
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Nikon F5, f22 @ 1/500, Fuji Velvia 50, Gitzo tripod, Bogen pistol grip head, Tiffen filters: CP, W and Enhancing.