Wednesday, July 05, 2006


If you were to dissect what I am saying and what the community of bloggers on Hillbilly Savants refer to in the Appalachian region of Southwest Virginia I feel that everything comes down to closeness. Closeness to what we feel, believe, develop, grow, and live. As I have said before the mountains grow warmth in the people there. I think in some way it has to do with the valley below the peaks of rolling greens. The valley is a meeting place. You come down from the mountain to go into town, to socialize, and to pick up goods. You go back up the mountain to your home. I feel the journey back and forth is very much metaphorical---the Sisyphus cycle. “The gods had condemned Sisyphus to ceaselessly rolling a rock to the top of a mountain, whence the stone would fall back of its own weight. They had thought with some reason that there is no more dreadful punishment than futile and hopeless labor” (Albert Camus). Here in this movement between top and bottom we have a passage between ourselves, essential and not hopeless. We live as travelers, like what the ancient Chinese ink paintings tried to depict, a journey from the present state in the valley to the mountain top, the point of enlightenment. For me, and I think many of my peers in that valley of Southwest Virginia, the mountaintop is a symbol of peace. Yet that peace can be achieved alone or with all involved. As I stood around beer and laughter the other night our fortunate awareness to that life came up in conversations over and over. Closeness toward each others as travelers, hikers, sightseers, and companions is what brought us together. We could share in something, in that feeling of belonging. When you hear about the life in the mountain there is something that is always left out or miss-understood. You hear about the community but not about how involved the community is to the earth. The mountain man or woman is not only part of that earth, but believes in that dirt with sheer passion like religion. Once again the important part is the road. The passage can become metaphorical or real but for the people the metaphor is reality and vice versa. There is no distinction between the two.

I am posting this to both Our Goblin Market and Hillbilly Savants

Image by Huang Kung-Wang
"Dwelling in the Fu Ch'un Mountains (Detail)
from VCU Slide Library Collection

1 comment:

Trace said...

Very lovely post. We mountain folks are so very connected to the earthy soils we walk upon. I does so become part of our souls. Life in the great appalachias is definitely a spirtiual experience; so, therefore I believe our love and connections to these areas can be analogeous to a religion in and of itself.