This must be the place: Ode to this newspaper, ode to a quarter century

It was just about 12 years ago when I first rolled into Waynesville. After a solo 18-hour, 1,000-mile trek from my native Upstate New York to Western North Carolina, I found myself sitting in an office chair awaiting an in-person interview with Smoky Mountain News publisher/founder Scott McLeod. 

Looking forward to SMN in 2049

This week SMN is celebrating its 25th anniversary as a business. As we mark the milestone, this industry is changing so fast it’s dizzying.

Building a world beyond

Having just recently written a review for these pages of an anthology made up of multiple writers published in 2023 with a similar title that was edited by Ervin Laszlo, I am taking the liberty to review the much more singular and shorter primer that Laszlo wrote in 2022 prior to putting together his large anthology.

Notes from a plant nerd: Hope for the Hemlocks

In springtime, all things are possible. Everything around you that is alive is imbued right now with the same hopeful energy.

Big heart: Following cancer battle, J Rex releases new album

For Jerad Davis, it all started with a dry, nagging cough in the summer of 2022. With shortness of breath, low energy, brain fog and night sweats, he initially chalked it up to long COVID. But, upon going to the doctor and through some medical procedures, he was eventually diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma. 

One year later, Canton displays remarkable progress

The woods are lovely, dark and deep,

But I have promises to keep,

And miles to go before I sleep,

And miles to go before I sleep. 

— Robert Frost, “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening” 

Humans are entirely unworthy of our dogs

We hoped he’d die in his sleep, that we’d find him curled up in the bed in that old, familiar way, having slipped as comfortably and naturally from this dimension to the next as a river flows into the sea. 

Leaning into the momentum of a new year

I love the energy surrounding a new year. Why are beginnings so enchanting? Perhaps it’s the hope and anticipation of the unknown or maybe an open opportunity to shed old habits, behaviors and beliefs that are no longer serving us.

A lot to look forward to in 2024

If 2024 were a table laid out before you, how would you imagine it: a beautiful, feast-laden smorgasbord of rich and tasty dishes with succulent sides, or an after-dinner wreck piled high with crusted up dirty dishes, overturned wine glasses and already eaten carcasses of dead birds and picked-over porcine bones? 

Flinch: Hope for empaths recovering from emotional trauma

Remember the game of bloody knuckles? You pretended to strike your friend with your fist and if they reacted with a nervous movement you shouted, “you flinched!” and then you got to punch them on the arm as their punishment? Ahh, good times! This instinctive reaction reveals a little more when we look at it under the energetic microscope and apply it to how we can change our conditioned responses to situations that bring us pain. 

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At our inception 20 years ago, we chose to be different. Unlike other news organizations, we made the decision to provide in-depth, regional reporting free to anyone who wanted access to it. We don’t plan to change that model. Support from our readers will help us maintain and strengthen the editorial independence that is crucial to our mission to help make Western North Carolina a better place to call home. If you are able, please support The Smoky Mountain News.

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