The Mountain Laurel
The Journal of Mountain Life

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from the
Heart of the Blue Ridge

A Hillbilly's View

By Tootsie Cassell Pilson © 1984

Issue: May, 1984

I have been asked, "Why don't you move off the top of that mountain and make something of yourself? There is no opportunity for advancement there." Well I've pondered the question at hand, and here is what I have come up with

I am not a person for fancy titles, and I live quite well not being a millionaire. Living among some of the best people in the world in uplifting surroundings year round, offers a way of life that money and prestige cannot buy.

When I look out over these ever changing mountains, I feel them as a security blanket draped around me. I guess you could say the mountains are in my blood.

After the rat race of earning my living in a noisy environment, I can come home to peace and quiet. If the notion strikes me, I can step into my own backyard and sit by a creek bank and listen to its soothing rhythm.

Everything here is on an even keel. When I look out my window and see a new born calf being freshly licked, I not only see the natural order of things but a continuation of life itself. I find people here on top of the mountain chocked full of grit and determination. We still have people here whose word is their bond.

We also have people who reach out in sickness and trouble, withdrawing only when they no longer see a need for a helping hand. We're a people who weep with those in sorrow and rejoice with those on the mountain top.

People in these parts still say howdy and throw up a welcoming hand. The hardy hand shake has not been forgotten by any means.

We are not so set in our ways but what we can't enjoy cultural things the city offers us, but let it be known, most of us are eager to come back home when the learning experience is over.

Our four seasons offer us paid in full benefits

Springtime is an awakening here in the heart of the old Blue Ridge. Dogwood and red bud open the season with scads of blossoms strewn over the mountain side. People here open garden plots in anticipation of the coming season. Wildflowers line the roadsides and mountain streams.

Summer's sun gives us longer days. Gardens are tended with meticulous care. Fruit jars and freezers are filled to brimming. Lazy days for sunning are ours for the taking.

Autumn comes in with cat-like grace. She spreads her colors with utmost care and begs the artist to come and fill her canvas. Her warm colors warm our hearts in preparation for the coming winter.

Our winters are a relaxing time when we can let our hair down. Snowed in, we bundle up and enjoy the fruits of our labors. Bookshelves are left bare as we strip them of their contents and read until late into the night.

The healing balm of solitude by an open fire offers renewal for our souls. We gather from it a purpose to keep striving and being a better self.

To take me out of these surroundings would be like trying to get a flower to grow in cement. I would surely dry up and blow away.

Me leave the top of the mountain? Never willingly! How much closer to paradise can one get?