This must be the place: Why does the sun go on shining? Why does the sea rush to shore?

So, here we are, eh? 

What a difference a day makes, where now each morning we seemingly wake up into another new normal in the fight against the coronavirus. It’s this existence of being stuck at home for the sake of society’s health and well-being — all dressed up and nowhere to go now taking on an entirely different meaning.

That path is for your steps alone: A conversation with Jay Blakesberg

If a picture is worth a thousand words, then the images of Jay Blakesberg are worth a thousand notes.

Initially following and photographing the melodic cosmic force that was The Grateful Dead from the late 1970s onward, Blakesberg has traveled the country and the world over, always in search of these serendipitous blink-of-an-eye encounters and interactions that define not only a scene and a generation, but also a culture and the essence of the humanity — love, compassion, rhythm.

This must be the place: And no matter what may come to shine, the dream will always be mine

I awoke in the guest bedroom and it took me a few seconds to realize where I was. Tampa, Florida, was the destination this past weekend. And there I was amid Gulf Coast sunshine and beautiful chaos only found in the depths of the unknown night. 

This must be the place: Life being what it is

Stepping out of my truck, I stretched my legs and proceeded to throw on my running clothes. It was nearing sunset when I locked the vehicle and jumped onto a nearby hiking trail just off U.S. 19 in Summersville, West Virginia. 

Opportunity knocks: Western takes on ‘Bama

For nearly all of its 128-year history, the University of Alabama’s football program has been synonymous with gridiron excellence. Thousands of young men have gone there to play the game they love, and played it to win. 

Boasting a 73 percent winning percentage over almost 1,300 games, Alabama has laid claim to 14 division titles, 31 conference titles and 17 national championships while producing legendary NFL stars like Joe Namath, Ozzie Newsome, Cornelius Bennett and Derrick Thomas, along with at least one legendary coach — Paul “Bear” Bryant. 

This must be the place: No fear or shame in the dignity of your experience, language and knowledge

When I was a kid, my parents would talk to anybody. Literally anybody. Though my little sister was somewhat embarrassed by it, I was completely fascinated. 

The Naturalist's Corner: Louisiana solitude

I recently made a semi-regular sojourn to the northeast Louisiana Delta, a stone’s throw from where I grew up. Friends get together twice a year (spring and fall) for a cookout at a beautiful spot along the Ouachita River. It is hard for me to tear away in the spring so I usually shoot for fall. I don’t make all of them, but I make as many as I can. It’s so good to see old friends and make new ones in such a relaxed atmosphere. This trip provided an extra bonus as I got to share a reading from A Year from the Naturalist’s Corner Volume I at Black Bayou Lake National Wildlife Refuge’s visitor center. Thanks to Friends of Black Bayou and BBLNWR staff for making that happen.

The Naturalist's Corner: Santee surprise

During our annual summer beach trip to Isle of Palms, I often manage to sneak away one morning to visit Santee Coastal Reserve for an annual red-cockaded woodpecker fix. State and federal agencies have been successfully enhancing the endangered red-cockaded woodpecker population at Santee Coastal for a number of years. It’s a great place to see these noisy little woodpeckers as they nest along the main dirt road through the reserve and all you have to do is drive slowly along until you hear the constant chatter of a colony.

Through Spain, frame by frame: Camino de Santiago offers a long-distance walk steeped in history

The more you know about the Camino de Santiago, the harder it is to define. 

The simple explanation is that it’s a walking path that travels through Spain. But in reality that description is a mix of truth and fiction. 

Our people are acting crazy again

Our people are leaving. Again. We’ve seen this all before. We see it every year around this time. It’s hot outside. The days are longer. Then, one day soon, they start pulling all the suitcases out of the garage. The folding chairs. The huge canopy. The inflatables. Those stupid-ass pool noodles. Bungee cords to tie all this crap on top of the Subaru.

Smokey Mountain News Logo
SUPPORT THE SMOKY MOUNTAIN NEWS AND
INDEPENDENT, AWARD-WINNING JOURNALISM
Go to top
Payment Information

/

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.

The Smoky Mountain News is a wholly private corporation. Reader contributions support the journalistic mission of SMN to remain independent. Your support of SMN does not constitute a charitable donation. If you have a question about contributing to SMN, please contact us.