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Mountain Time - A Slower Way of Life in the Heart of Virginia
There are days when I look out at the mountains in the distance and I wonder if I have lived more than one lifetime here in these mountains. It is the only explanation for the deep love I have for them as it seems impossible to love them this much in just one lifetime. There is a familiarity in these old mountains and when I look at them, I feel the same contentment of a weary traveler who has finally made it home. Time here is different than in other places. I call it mountain time and it is a slower pace than anywhere else I’ve been. It’s not quite lazy but it’s rhythmic almost, like things happen in synchronicity with other things, the way they are supposed to.
Don’t misunderstand. I live in the city, a fairly busy city actually, but the mountains are the backdrop in all four directions. I am surrounded by mountains and I love them all. Many of my favorite childhood memories were made in these mountains. There are memories of fishing in mountain streams or climbing to the top of the tallest waterfall along the slippery moss covered rocks. I remember fondly the Sunday afternoons spent in the mountain orchard picking the last apples of Autumn or picnics in the shade of the old pines.
Sharp Top and Terrapin Mountain
Mountain time is perfect for us dreamers. Sitting on the patio watching the sun set in the Western sky, I can see old Sharp Top standing bravely adjacent to Terrapin Mountain. Memories have been made on both. Even as a young girl, the climb up Sharp Top was enough to scare me. The climb is steep and the path narrow. Some say it is treacherous but it has been a favorite of hikers for decades. If one has the fortitude and stamina to make the climb, the view from the top is magnificent.
If Terrapin Mountain could speak, it, would tell you about the wind. Terrapin Mountain is the host for Hurricane Valley and when the wind comes down through the valley, it is fierce. You can hear it long before you feel it and if you don’t know the history of the Valley, you would think a train was coming. But it is not a train. Instead it is a force of nature that can pick up a tent full of primitive furniture and toss it across the hood of a pickup truck. I know because I’ve seen it and it taught me to respect the power of the wind.
- The Monacan Indians and St. Paul's Mission
October is a time of sharing, celebrating, and fundraising for St. Paul's Mission, the spiritual center of the Monacan Indian Nation of Virginia. The annual Homecoming and Scholarship Auction is held on the first Saturday in October. It is a traditio
To the North is Bear Mountain, the ancestral land of the Monacan Indian Nation. It is perhaps my favorite. If you are quiet and willing to listen, you can hear the voices of the old ones speak of the hard times long ago. They will tell you of the racism and discrimination suffered at the hands of the dominant society. They will tell you of how they moved from the river to the mountains in search of food and shelter. They will tell you of the peace they found on the mountain. And if you are really listening, they will tell you how happy they are that their People have returned to the mountain and have once again become the caretakers of the land. You can almost feel their joy, if you are quiet and listen.
- Jerry Falwell, Liberty University, and Thomas Road B...
As a child, I grew up under the shadow of Dr. Jerry Falwell, Thomas Road Baptist Church and Liberty University. I resented hem all. Now, as an adult, I see how they have positively influenced life in our city of Lynchburg, Virginia. They have become
When I turn to the East, I see another mountain that holds many memories. The memories are those of a young woman running wild and rebelling against authority. Yes, Candlers Mountain was the mountain where those on the “other side of the tracks” lived and their lives were a bit more raucous than those who lived in the city. Parents forbid their children to venture up to Candlers Mountain but once we reached a certain age, we went anyway. As time passed, the reputation of Candler’s Mountain changed. The mountain was purchased by a rather famous religious organization and is now the home to perhaps the largest Christian University and Church in the country. I feel a sadness for the old mountain these days. It’s beautiful top has been stripped of it’s trees and the initials of the University have been carved in their place. Adjacent to the carving is a new facility, a Snow-plex, where thousands come to play in man-made snow. It’s all a bit unnatural in my opinion and, sad.
Mountain Time and the Stories It Will Tell
Time here among the mountains I love may be a bit slower but it’s a good life. As a lover of trees I am always moved by the beauty of the each season. The mountain streams have afforded me many opportunities to lose myself in the songs of the water flowing down through mountain passes on its way to the river below. When the sun sets here in these mountains it is almost spiritual. No two are ever the same. Science may explain the colors of an evening sky in terms of temperature and humidity but I prefer to think of them as a painting created by a sacred hand. It is the moment in my day when I am more sure than ever that there is a God and that I am a witness to God's power and desire for us to be good stewards of the earth.
These mountains are home and when one embraces the concept of mountain time, there is always enough time to reflect and time to dream. Time here in the mountains is healthy. These mountains provide everything one needs from a challenging hike that tests one’s physical abilities to the moment when the world seems to stand perfectly still while one gazes at a brilliant sunset. They provide food and shelter for all of God’s creatures, past and present. These mountains hold the secrets of those who once walked along the ridges and valleys in search of a better life and they welcome newcomers with dreams for the future. They remind us that we must take care of the land and the creatures who live upon it for future generations to enjoy. Ah yes, one day these mountains will hold the secrets of my generation and the stories that will be told of mountain time will be of our own making. Will they be stories of a people who loved the land and used it wisely or will they be stories of a people who abused the natural resources until they vanished? Only mountain time will tell.
© 2013 Linda Crist, All rights reserved.