Constant and change are words at odds with each other in many respects. But through the evolution of days and seasons these words describe a reality played out in silence in these mountains. The changes are noticed in the smallest new flower coming to life in late summer and the hint of color heralding the approach of fall. My hikes these past few weeks have allowed me to see so many wild flowers that nature provides for us as the Appalachian soil on both hill and dale put on an encore of summer. I have taken these pictures to help me to learn the names of these wild flowers and hope to share them here. This pull of the mountains and my return here has given me the time to go often enough to observe that the “constant” of nature is change.
Early summer green of the field
Early Summer Grasses
Summer Color–Bee balm
Queen Ann’s lace and Black-Eyed Susan
So now let me share with you flowers and scenes from the same area that have bloomed and changed in the late summer days.
Burst of color
Joe-Pye weed, late summer bloom
Same field as above with beautiful bronze of late summer timothy
Timothy Grasses in late summer
I hope you will enjoy these photos as they have been a pleasure to capture on my treks over the hills and along the wooded paths of home. I am not an expert in flora or fauna but have just enjoyed being here and home again with time to truly appreciate the smaller changes as the days of this summer have passed by.
I have found myself eating honeysuckle juice, blackberries, and blueberries that are growing wild on these hills. I have seen rabbits, deer, squirrel and yes bear. I have watched the farmers plant, and harvest wheat, hay, and corn for feed and livestock. I’ve found myself thinking if there would be a way that I could truly live off the land here as my grandfather, great-grandfather and so many others have done. I joked early on in our return about eventually becoming a “granola”–the local word for those who in the 70s tried to return “back to the earth” and capture those days and that way of life that so many found “simpler”.
I know simple is far from the reality of that life and those days. Yet lately I have thought a great deal about my connection to these mountains and questioning if I could ever truly be as connected to this land as my grandfather was. I have come to admit to myself at least that there is no way that I ever could have that connection without completely becoming a granola–or truly living off the land as he and his family and my ancestors did. I could raise all my vegetables, raise livestock again, hunt for meat, and preserve what I grow. Yes it would be possible for us to truly live that lifestyle in some ways. But could I really ever feel the same reliance or trust with the land that my Appalachian ancestors did? They lived their lives in that way through sheer necessity and mine would be a matter of choice. In that one word, choice–I feel I could never capture the same bond to the land that they forged.
Connected I am though and here I am trying to see, touch, hear, and deepen my bond I guess, through these words and captured in these pictures. As summer passes the nature’s constant changes will continue to provide me with more to explore and consider. And I hope to share the mountains with you here.