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Friday
Nov192010

Appalachian Roots

Though he lived most of his life in large cities and traveled over much of the United States, my father always said he was a Tennessee hillbilly. Over three hundred years ago his ancestors settled into the mountains of North Carolina and Tennessee, and I, too, can feel the strong pull of heritage when I visit the region.

Earlier this week I was in the Smokey Mountains, so named for the fog which drapes over the ancient hills. A mist is created by the rapid cooling of moist coastal air as it reaches the higher elevations of the Southern Appalachians, and this causes the typical smokey appearance.

Perhaps my affection for the earth and living things comes from roots which spread through these mountains. It is easy to fall in love with the Smokies, with their gentle slopes and wide diversity of plant and wild life. I took all of these photos in and around the area known as Cades Cove, originally a farming community nestled in the mountains of Tennessee. Now human history and nature are preserved by the national park system and enjoyed by visitors throughout the year.


Do we all feel a tug when we visit the land of our ancestors? Do roots run through the generations, connecting us to the soil of our forefathers? I think maybe so.

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Reader Comments (25)

I've never been to the Smokies, but your photos make me feel as if I have now. You gave us iconic, classic shots of what I imagine the Great Smoky Mountains to feel like, not just look like. Beautiful.

November 19, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLaurrie

Just stunning! Your photos could be on a calendar. It is so beautiful there. I haven't been in a while.

November 19, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterPhillip

I love this post Deb. I too believe we do feel the connection to land and a place due to our ancestry. I also believe as humans we can strive to be inside of nature anywhere because of a deep connection to our mother earth. I know I do. Your photograph captures the magic and mystery of the Smokies. Your words weave a lovely family story. ;>)

November 19, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCarol

Dear Deborah, What a wonderful introduction to a region about which I know nothing. your photgraphs are so atmospheric and certainly transported me for a few minutes to the 'Smokies'. I am uncertain about the 'pull' of ancestral roots but I certainly feel that one has a 'sense of place' when one knows that one feels at home and at one with the landscape and the people.

November 19, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterEdith Hope

Wow, how beautiful! It's been ages since I visited the Smokies in autumn. Now I am reminded why so many Floridians trek up there this time of year. I come from a long line of Appalachian hillbillies as well, on both sides, plus a bit of the Cherokee, before my family settled in Florida crackerland.

November 19, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterFloridagirl

Magical - and very Welsh! Great photos.

November 19, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterPlantaliscious

If I ever get to visit the states I dont want to go to New York, Orlando etc etc but I would like to go to Tennesse and the like. I really like your photos they are so atmospheric

November 19, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterHelen

Amazing photos! I love the one of the tunnel

November 19, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterfer

Just gorgeous photographs Deb. We recently watched Ken Burns "National Parks" series, and the Smokies were beautifully depicted there. I've been to that part of the United States, but hopefully some day soon. After seeing your photos, I'd love to visit in the Fall, it's just beautiful. "Do roots run through the generations, connecting us to the soil of our forefathers?" I believe so. Last time I was in Yorkshire, it was difficult to feel that 'tug', after my own family resided in that part of the Dales for almost 400 years (that I know of). You can't help but feel an echo of your ancestors when you stand in such a place.

November 19, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCurbstone Valley Farm

Hi Deb,

I really like that shot of the tunnel.
As I was listening to John Denver, I could just picture these scenes. How fitting!
Thanks for stopping by my blog. Always good to hear form you.
Rosey

November 19, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterRosey

I don't think it is possible to take bad photos of Appalachia, but yours are even better than most! It makes me want to take a day trip on the Blue Ridge Parkway tomorrow (and I just might -- it's practically right out my back door).

November 19, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterEliza

It sure brings fond memories when we talk about our roots...your ancestoral land has an awesome beauty and so impressive with the majestic Smokey Mountain as the backdrop..

November 19, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterp3chandan

I love the Appalachian Mountains and have ridden horse back there many many times with my close friend. I am not a mountain person myself but I have always been drawn to the wild beauty. Your photos are wonderful and make me want to take another trip to Western North Carolina.

November 19, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterlifeshighway

Those are amazing images. I'm not surprised you feel especially attached to it. Everything seems so grand and yet serene.

BTW, good to meet another SS user.

November 20, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBom

It's been a stressful week and my visit to your blog has been so relaxing. Your photos create a peaceful journey through a magical place. Absolutely stunning photography!

November 20, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCat

These are magical images. I always felt that way when I visited the Smoky Mountains, and your images are just beautiful.

November 20, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDonna

Your prose and photographs are outstanding. I love the black and white collage with the cabin and cemetary.

November 21, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSweet Bay

I think you're spot on ... we do somehow feel a deep connection to the land of our predecessors. I'm not sure why, maybe because the stories told by family members keeps the connection real.

Your photos are simply stunning ... what an absolutely beautiful part of the world. Those shots took my breath away.

November 21, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBernieh

National Geographic stunning photos and beautiful memories, Deb. Happy Thanksgiving :)

November 21, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterjoey

Dear Deb - no wonder your home is filled with so many trees to root you! These are glorious images that pull me into wanting to visit perhaps because of the added nostalgia you've created here. In the words of the song:
"If I'll keep looking to the father
Keep our heads above the water
While the Smoky Mountains memories keep me strong"

Laura
My roots liie in the gentler sedate landscape of Dorset but feels special seeing where my paternal family lived

November 23, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterPatioPatch

I love this part of TN. Cades Cove is a must see! Hope you have a happy and blessed Thanksgiving.

November 23, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterChris

Absolutely gorgeous pictures!!! We visited this part of the country last summer and I would love to see it in the fall sometime. Thanks for sharing your trip :-)

November 27, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterToni - Signature Gardens

Deb, These photos of The Smokies brought tears to my eyes. They're so beautiful! You've got a wonderful photographer's eye. Jan Harris

November 28, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJan Harris

Stunning, absolutely gorgeous and peaceful. Thank you for sharing.

April 27, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMary-Louise Abney

I live in the foothills of the Great Smokey Mountains. I was talking to a friend of mine that lives here also, we were looking at the Smokies and I told her how we don't really appreciate what we look at each day. God's Great creation, so pretty, so majestic that just takes your breath to stand and look at such beauty. Thank you Lord Jesus for affording me to be born, raised and still living in such a wonderful place.

August 26, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterWanda Sue

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