Saturday, August 4, 2018


The above and all following images are reproduced here by the kind permission of the photographer, Robert Stephens, whose work may be seen at links given below.

They seem to stretch on into forever, yes?  Where does earth end and sky begin? 
Are those clouds above mountains, or mountains in the sky?  

Fertile valleys, encircled by the arms of the 'grandfathers'...

My ancestors called these mountains home for thousands of years before Europeans floated across both oceans and began to settle there. 
The ancient story of how they were formed is perhaps unbelievable to everyone but the few within the 'Tribe' who can visualize a great winged creature flying toward the sea, his wing tips dipping into the soft mud of earth and then, with each upsweep, raising a mountain, then another, and another as he flapped tiredly toward the rising sun.
Others among us say that the Creator of all things also created these.
No matter the method, there they stand and there they will always stand until this earth is no more.
Those who loved them 10,000 years ago said they were their 'grandfathers, standing shoulder-to-shoulder to protect the People, sending down the life-giving crystal clear waters into the valleys below.

And those rising mists, for they do RISE UP from the valleys, are merely reminders of the many campfires of the Aniyunwiyv, the 'Original People', sending up the blue smoke as day turned into night.
Day became night in many ways for the People there, sadly.  

A blessing of the that the land may flourish.


While all the world continues to go quite stark-raving, lunatic mad, the old Tea Room is seriously considering a final move, and I do mean FINAL, to a place of considerable more beauty than my present location, a place where my spirit finds great PEACE...I want to go HOME. 

I've been blessed for 4 years now with the finest physicians I could have ever hoped for in the Memphis area, and I would be hard-pressed to find as good a quality back home in the Blue Ridge Mountains of my beloved homeland, BUT...

There comes a time when one must do what one MUST do.

As John Muir stated, "The mountains are calling and I must go."

As all who read here know, my oncology surgery was cancelled, bad, very bad odds which led me to PASS on that, so it seems to me that I should just go be happy where I am HAPPIEST: 
MY Appalachian mountains, where I was living when I began this blog years ago.

I appreciate all the well-wishes, all the kind words from all who have sent them.
The finest gifts we can give one another are PURE TRUTH, no matter how it might sting, our prayers, and our private thoughts in the form of written or spoken words.

Don't think you will be rid of me, for you shan't, but there may be a bit longer than usual pause in my blogs in September if I decide to go HOME for Autumn's splendor there...AND STAY!

Few photos, paintings, etc, can do MY mountains justice, but the young man, whose exceptional and exquisite work you see above, seems always to capture the heartbeat of the Blue Ridge "Mountains That Smoke", or, as the folks back home say in a 'Native language', Tsakonvge... the place of the blue smoke.

NASA's satellite shots do NOT do them justice and they use the Anglo spelling of Tsa
konvge, but have a look there and follow their links for even more about MY mountains.

You may all know by now that I allow NO ads here, and I don't consider this to be one, but I would merely wish that all the world could see all the photos of my HOME through a certain young man's lens.

Robert Stephens is also known as 'Solitary Traveler Photography' and his work can be viewed in all its remarkable splendor <HERE>.

Robert has a blog site [CLICK HERE] where he describes very wonderfully how he came to make many of the photographs posted there.  He has a way with words.   

For those using Facebook, 'follow' him <HERE>.

I have his permission to share these few images with you.
[MANY thanks, Robert!] 

On Muir; "John Muir, born in 1838, was one of America’s most famous and influential “Outdoor Enthusiasts,” which in his era, were called Naturalists. He remains one of California’s most important historical personalities and is generally still known today as one of the Fathers of our National Parks. 
He once described himself as, a “poetico-trampo-geologist-botanist and ornithologist-naturalist etc. etc.!!!!”

Famed documentary film maker Ken Burns has said,
“As we got to know him… he [John Muir] ascended to the pantheon of the highest individuals in our country; I’m talking about the level of Abraham Lincoln, and Martin Luther King, and Thomas Jefferson, and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Jackie Robinson — people who have had a transformational effect on who we are.”

So where did this quote actually come from, "The mountains are calling..."?

It, like many others, came from one of his letters written to his sister, Sarah Muir Galloway.
In it he writes:

Yosemite Valley – September 3rd, 1873

Dear Sister Sarah:
I have just returned from the longest and hardest trip I have ever made in the mountains, having been gone over five weeks. I am weary, but resting fast; sleepy, but sleeping deep and fast; hungry, but eating much. For two weeks I explored the glaciers of the summits east of here, sleeping among the snowy mountains without blankets and with but little to eat on account of its being so inaccessible. After my icy experiences it seems strange to be down here in so warm and flowery a climate.

I will soon be off again, determined to use all the season in prosecuting my researches–will go next to Kings River a hundred miles south, then to Lake Tahoe and adjacent mountains, and in winter work in Oakland with my pen.

The Scotch are slow, but some day I will have the results of my mountain studies in a form in which you all will be able to read and judge of them. In the mean time I write occasionally for the Overland Monthly, but neither these magazine articles nor my first book will form any finished part of the scientific contribution that I hope to make. . . .
The mountains are calling and I must go, and I will work on while I can, studying incessantly.

My love to you all, David and the children and Mrs. Galloway who though shut out from sunshine yet dwells in Light. I will write again when I return from Kings River Canyon. The leaf sent me from China is for Cecelia.
[End quote]

So, my friends, if I am able to make another, FINAL move, this is where I'll be, "come September".

May your blessings fall like rain, fellow travelers, all of you being aboard this wee spaceship we call Earth.  

I beseech you, question EVERYTHING, and LEARN so that we, as a species, do not PERISH.