Escarpment Blues

Last weekend we took a spin 30 miles west of town in what, when I was a child, we always called “the mountains.” We never even called it “the mountain front,” and it was only after I took geology in college that I learned to refer to it as “the Blue Ridge Escarpment.” Of course I’m talking about our local landscape’s thrust toward immortality, the...

Scars on the Land

Last Saturday I hiked the Pacolet River Heritage Preserve off Goldmine Road with my friend Erik Reece. Like me, Erik’s a poet and an environmental writer, and I wanted to show him something of my nearby wilderness while he was in town. Erik was scheduled for two talks about his book LOST MOUNTAIN: RADICAL STRIP MINING AND THE DEVASTATION OF APPALACHIA. On Friday he’d answered...

When I Bought My Mountain Place

When I bought my mountain place in western North Carolina I was looking for this purest form of retreat. I wanted to put as many one lane bridges between me and the nearest Wal-Mart as possible. But I also knew it was the Southeast, and there would always be neighbors, echoing sounds from across the ridge. They may not be close by, but they would be presences offering waves as we passed on the...

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