Sunday, September 12, 2010

Sunday Morning Light

7:00 am and ready for a sunrise
The morning rolls out across the valley clouds yellow as spun gold, fresh as Rapunzel romance, every morning is renewing, refreshing, re-invigorating in these hills.

My place is in this valley below; a little to the left of center, a lot like me.
After two weeks of weed whacking back these flowers to clear for the trail it was nice to experience them fresh again, in beauty, in Sunday morning light.
Callie dog paused at the first locust bench on the ridge above Carroll Gap. It seems small compared to the one we made last week.
Many of the pines on this ridge are dying or dead. Pine beetles? Acid rain? Natural selection? There are so many standing it looks like a skeleton forest.
Beneath the standing dead the next forest begins. Mostly pine saplings on the south side have begun to reclaim the forest floor.
On the north side the birches are establishing their dominance in the second growth.
In this monotone forest of demise this little spot of red leaf caught my eyes. I reached to collect what I saw as the first red leaf of autumn. I wanted to show it to my sweetie. ;-)

Alas, much to my surprise, when I pulled at the leaf, the entire tree came up, roots and all.
I must admit, I felt like I had yanked the last living specimen of red maple from the forest.

So I looked around and found just the right habitat and replanted this little charm. I am humbled, reminded that this is why we make these trails. So that intimate encounters with nature may occur. So that a sense of connection to something greater prevails upon us to discover, respect, rediscover, and protect Nature.
Perhaps the dying  pines will give way to new birches and red maples. Perhaps this tiny tree will someday have to be pruned at trail's edge when it has become large enough to seed the next forest of maples. Perhaps I will check on this little one for a few years to come. Even when I am long gone, this maple will still be only beginning to belong on this mountain.
Walking out onto the parkway, around the curve to the big view.
Morning still hangs in the air, clearing sky above, a Sunday morning light walk behind me on the Watauga Section of the Mountains to Sea Trail. Someday, I hope you will come out too ~


  1. I don't live in North Carolina, but I visit as often as possible; and one day we hope to retire there as well! I love your blog and the fact that people who love the outdoors are willing to put in a little work for it. It's a great thing you do. Your photos rock as well!

  2. Well, I thank you for your appreciation. Many volunteers have contributed to the construction of this trail under the leadership of some fine trail masters. Thanks for noticing the photos.