October 05, 2009
Originally published August 18, 2004
The Appalachians look small to me after seeing the Cascades and the Rockies. The old hills of Kentucky appear worn, weathered and weary compared to those robust mountains that seem to reach up and puncture the sky out west. Yeah, those mountains are taller and more impressive than where I grew up. I loved seeing them.
But those hills, those old, old hills where I come from still hold a majesty to ME that no other place on this earth can duplicate. I look at them and feel as if I'm still sitting on Grandma's knee, listening to her sing a sad coal miner song while she sews shuck beans and hangs them in long bunches on thread.
I like the way those mountains smell, and I like the taste of cold water from a spring that flows straight from rocks older than time. I've hiked all over those mountains and I've spent many a night around a campfire with a swift-running creek singing me a serenade at night. Water rushing over rocks sounds like rainfall when you pull your sleeping bag tight around you and drift off to sleep in the woods, in the mountains.
The Cascades and the Rockies are like me when I was young--- They are vigorous and bold, rough and ready, tall and strong. The Appalachians are like me NOW--- tired and worn-down, ready for rest and not in a big hurry anymore. Those mountains are peaceful.
I like that quality in mountains.
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