Tag Archives: springtime in the mountains

And like a mist …

spring came to Southwest Virginia.

More specifically, to Clinch Mountain and even more specifically, to Big Moccasin.

The temperatures and weather over the past couple of weeks has been like riding the world’s most vertigo-inducing roller-coaster immediately after eating corn dogs, grilled sausages with onions and funnel cakes.

Better than Ipecac syrup, that.

But this past Sunday … wow.  Just wow.

A perfect day filled with fog, clouds, blue sky, sunshine, a spring breeze, and a trip into my mountain.

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Like my orchard, the mountain isn’t really mine.

It isn’t really anyone’s.

Even though someone may hold the deed to a particular part of the earth, that part thrives and takes what it wants and has little regard for that little piece of paper that claims ownership.

The trees grow, the flowers bloom, the grass thrives, the leaves bud, the creek flows and human existence is of little relevance.

I found this to be true when I went into “my” mountain on Sunday.

If it was glad to see me, it didn’t say so, not with words, but I think, at least I like to think, that it missed me a little bit, anyway.

I went to the Orchard first.  It was just beginning to bud.  I kissed the tender buds, the gnarled branches and the crooked trunks.

Was I worshiping the trees or the orchard or the sun or the sky?

Of course not.

I was worshiping the Creator of those lovely things.

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I laid on the newly-greening grass beneath the apple trees and thought deep thoughts about everything and nothing.  I thought forbidden thoughts, dreamed lovely dreams, and reveled in the sense of contented aloneness that I feel while immersed in nature.

I can be myself beneath the trees that I love, without pretending or hoping or wishing.  They have an understanding of who I am and what I aspire to be.  That is the nature of trees.  They are unassuming and accept me, along with my dreams and fantasies, without condemnation.

Just me.

Just as I am, without filters or regrets.

Thank you, Jesus, for the Orchard.

I find peace in no place like I find it behind the lens of a camera watching the world that God created play before my very eyes.  I feel, sometimes, like an intruder into the perfect world of nature but I cannot look away from the magnificence.

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Of course, as on any successful excursion, hike or trail shoot, I became unbelievably filthy and muddy by crawling beneath branches and vines on the edge of the creek in order to preserve, through images, the delicacy of fragile blooms that help to define spring.

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I didn’t, on this journey, find any fiddle-heads, but it is a bit early yet.  I am already looking forward to my next trek into the spring mountain, for with every trip, every journey, there will be more to see, to experience.  More to overload my already overloaded senses and send me to a place that one can only get to by being in the mountains in springtime.

I am, without doubt, blessed beyond measure and I am thankful.

Isaiah 55:12 ~ For ye shall go out with joy, and be led forth with peace: the mountains and the hills shall break forth before you into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.

 

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Spring on Clinch Mountain

Today, I took a walk on the wild side… the wild mushroom side, that is… Under the close supervision of my guide (and dad), Steve Minton, we went deep into the hollows of Clinch Mountain.  Although the mushrooms were in short supply, there was no shortage of sheer, springtime beauty.  The blooming trees are just starting, so the experience will last another week or so… the ferns are unfolding and the leaves are putting out… but more than the sights, there are the sounds and smells that make it, really and truly, springtime in the Mountains.  The brooks and creeks, thanks to the recent rains, were bubbling and laughing, teasing the rocks and the moss like a child with energy to spare…
The birds sang and the wind rustled through the budding leaves and still bare limbs making a sound, when mixed with the rushing water, that is indescribable and one of my greatest pleasures.  While the trail was steep and bumpy, the driver was an exceptional one and handled the Ranger like a true professional.  Myself, who is usually walking because I have some weird fear, rode with confidence and had a thoroughly wonderful day.  It wasn’t long after we’d stopped that Sophie announced her first find.  I wound myself around to where she and dad had gone.  It was then I heard him announce that there was a terrapin…  he stuck his head out for a moment, but soon decided he’d just soon be left alone…
Sophie decided she wanted to walk with me awhile so we started looking around.  She is eagle-eyes when it comes to mushrooms.  Though we only found a handful, she spotted every one of them.
The morel mushroom is called by many in Southwest Virginia the “dry land fish” partly, I suppose, to the fish-like taste of fried morels.  It is unusual for sure, and not easy to find.  But once you find a place they grow, you keep your mouth shut about it.  Least that’s what I was told by the guide.  Not long after, Sophie decided that she had seen enough mushrooms, had enough bug-bites and wanted to get in the cool… so we started down..  Not far into the descent, there were some ferns, just unfolding… one of the many small miracles of nature and one of my all-time favorite spring sights…

The descent ended in the pond field where we found and army of frogs all around the pond.  Since my zoom lens is temporarily disabled, I had to get really close.  Prayed that they wouldn’t jump on me, so I was pretty confident.  There were both disgustingly gross and unerringly fascinating… odd

The tour ended back at the farmhouse.  It seems that one of the most beautiful things was right here in the dooryard… my Mother’s garden…
All in all, it was a wonderful way to spend the afternoon.  I learned so much more with dad, um, I mean, the guide, than I could have possibly figured out for myself.  Thanks, Dad, for being willing to teach an old dog new tricks…