Archived Mountain Voices

Random thoughts and voices

back thenHere I sit by my window watching the creek go by with nothing in particular to write about except the random thoughts and voices in my composition book:

“Negative capability is the gift of being in the world without any desire to reconcile contradictory aspects.”

Fiddleheads unfurl from darkness into predisposed patterns of leaves called fronds that are either simple or divided exactly as they should be.

“God created ferns to show what he could do with leaves.”

A cool breeze wandered into the cove and cast a gray mist over the creek that spread in a thin veil across the pasture and into the woods … a spectral presence

I now, too late, realize was a forewarning.

“The mind is an enchanted loom where millions of flashing shuttles weave a dissolving pattern … and the eye sends throughout the waking day continual rhythmic streams … as if of some incantational dance.”

From the tower at High Rocks … after the swirling mists had been blown away … there were views that swept across the Smokies from Deeplow Gap to Shuckstack & southward over the Cowees Nantahalas Snowbirds Tusquites Unicois … beautiful world almost without end.

Twigs cast shadows through which glinted tan curls of bark slowly unraveling from the trunk in broad flakes.”

Try to remember should we meet again and I have little or nothing to say that doesn’t mean I’m neither here nor there.

“Beauty gratifies only our outward sense …but grace is a confluence of all attractives that approves itself to our own most deliberate judgments.”

The red bird sings from a tree limb outside the kitchen window … daughter of the sun she was held hostage by the ghost people in the darkening…yet her notes are whistled bright and clear.

“I forgot that love existed … then I saw the light … and everyone around me made everything alright.”

(Voices: Keats, Thoreau, Sir Charles Sherrington, Reginald Farrer, Rev. Thomas Ken and Van Morrison.)

George Ellison wrote the biographical introductions for the reissues of two Appalachian classics: Horace Kephart’s Our Southern Highlanders and James Mooney’s History, Myths, and Sacred Formulas of the Cherokees. In June 2005, a selection of his Back Then columns was published by The History Press in Charleston as Mountain Passages: Natural and Cultural History of Western North Carolina and the Great Smoky Mountains. Readers can contact him at P.O. Box 1262, Bryson City, N.C., 28713, or at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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