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Mountain Time - A Slower Way of Life in the Heart of Virginia

Updated on July 7, 2013
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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
Sharp Top | Source
Terrapin Mountain
Terrapin Mountain | Source

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.

Bear Mountain

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.

Candlers Mountain

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.

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  • lrc7815 profile image
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    Linda Crist 4 years ago from Central Virginia

    Hi ochill! Love the screen name and that you are hopefull somewhere peaceful and nice. It's a great introduction. :-) I agree with you. I love the beach but I want to see those hills and valleys when I look out my window. Thanks for the visit. Happy mountin biking!

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    ocbill 4 years ago from hopefully somewhere peaceful and nice

    Nice hub. For the life of me, after growing up near mountains I can't understand how folks can live on flat lands for miles like in Texas and Florida. It's a blessing when I see some nice hills in those 2 states. Mountain biking is a great thing for us bikers.

  • lrc7815 profile image
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    Linda Crist 4 years ago from Central Virginia

    Hello Mary615! Thanks for stopping by. The mountains of NC are beatiful too, especially those along the Parkway (around Boone and Ashville). The winters can be brutally cold but I enjoy the change of seasons, so I don't mind a few months of cold weather. I am sorry if I made you homesick but hope the memories are good ones. Thanks for teh vote and share.

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    Linda Crist 4 years ago from Central Virginia

    Mary (tillsontitan), I enjoy your comments so much. Mountains, like people, come in many sizes and shapes. They are historians and I cannot help but wonder about those who have traveled along the rocky cliffs or slept in the shadows of an evergreen forest. For me, there is so much magic in the not knowing that they often leave me spellbound. Enjoy your mountains and know that I always appreciate your visits.

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    Mary Hyatt 4 years ago from Florida

    I was born and grew up around the beautiful mountains of N. Carolina. I still miss them (but I don't miss the cold weather in the wintertime).

    Beautiful Hub, made me a little homesick.

    Voted UP, will share.

  • tillsontitan profile image

    Mary Craig 4 years ago from New York

    How beautiful and relaxing this hub is. Reading about your mountains, makes me stop and think about the mountains around here. Their beauty holds so many secrets.

    You've captured the beauty of the mountains and their peacefulness. This was a treat to read!

    Voted up, useful, awesome, and interesting.

  • lrc7815 profile image
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    Linda Crist 4 years ago from Central Virginia

    Maria, I am so glad you had a "moment" while reading this one. I often giggle over those who think they need a mat and a sound recording to be guided to their place of "center". All I have to do is step outside into nature and I'm there. I wish every nursing student had you for an instructor. Your students must turn out to be amazing care-givers. Thank you so much for the heartfelt compliment. Have a wonderful day not that you've found your "place". :-)

  • lrc7815 profile image
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    Linda Crist 4 years ago from Central Virginia

    Julie, you have completely felt my heart and clearly understood. The connection between a place and a heart is sacred and as you said, can give us a glimpse into the lives of those who came before us. I too hear the voices of the old ones in these mountains. It is amazing. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and this special feeling with me.

  • marcoujor profile image

    Maria Jordan 4 years ago from Jeffersonville PA

    Dear Linda,

    You have really soothed me today from a busy week...where I do guided imagery many times with students to help them relax.

    Your words are calming, visual and 'grounding' (I love puns but I really believe in 'grounding'...centering)

    I also love the concept of Mountain Time... you paint a glorious canvas with your pen.

    Voted UP and UABI. Hugs, Maria

  • Jools99 profile image

    Jools99 4 years ago from North-East UK

    Wonderful hub and as I read, I completely connected with your feelings and the way you described these mountains. I like by the ocean and that has a certain draw for me - I live on what was an industrial river and I look at it now and I think about my ancestors and their place where I'm standing and of how different it must have looked. Mountains have the same effect on me when I am lucky enough to get out into the countryside (the Lake District is my favourite place in the UK), it is a feeling of being small in the world but also being at one with it.

  • lrc7815 profile image
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    Linda Crist 4 years ago from Central Virginia

    Hi AliciaC. hank you for visiting and sharing my love of the mountains with me.

  • AliciaC profile image

    Linda Crampton 4 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

    This is a very beautiful piece of writing. I love mountains and explore them often. They form the backdrop to my city, but they don't surround my home as your mountains do. Thank you for sharing this lovely hub and describing the importance of mountains in your life.

  • lrc7815 profile image
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    Linda Crist 4 years ago from Central Virginia

    Wow Shauna. You have no idea how much I appreciate your comment and that you have the same appreciation for nature that I do. And yes, I often feel I have that direct communication that you speak of. Thanks girlfriend.

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    Shauna L Bowling 4 years ago from Central Florida

    Linda, I could feel the calm, the awe, the peaceful spirit as I read these words. I envy you having such a spiritual place to visit each day. I miss the hills and paths through forested lands of the northeast. To me, seeing the rays of the sun reach though the boughs of the trees is a direct connection with God.

    This is a beautiful peace. I love your message at the end. Oh - and I agree with Bill - your writing gets better and better. You have a captivating style.

  • lrc7815 profile image
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    Linda Crist 4 years ago from Central Virginia

    Eddy, I consider that such a compliment, coming from you, who I also greatly admire as a wonderful writer. Thank you so much.

  • Eiddwen profile image

    Eiddwen 4 years ago from Wales

    Oh yes I really enjoyed this one ;so well informed and presented.

    I now look forward to so many more by you .

    Have a wonderful day.

    Eddy

  • lrc7815 profile image
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    Linda Crist 4 years ago from Central Virginia

    Hi MizB! Thank you for such a heartfelt addition to the comments here. I think many of us "belong" to the land and I have never doubted that I belong here among these mountains. But, I also have a piece of my heart on the prairie in South Dakota. So, I agree that we can be held captive by more than one place. I'm happy here though, as you can tell. :-)

  • lrc7815 profile image
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    Linda Crist 4 years ago from Central Virginia

    Hi Gypsumgirl. Thanks for sharing my love for the mountains with me today.

  • MizBejabbers profile image

    MizBejabbers 4 years ago

    Mountain Time, now that's a great description. Why didn't I think of that. As they say in the South, I was born and bred in the Ozark Mountains, so I know just how you feel. I have had the urge to go back home for the last 10 years. My mountains aren't as tall as yours, (now Billybuc, hush!) but they are the oldest mountains in the United States and maybe the world. They've worn down with age just like an old man's teeth, but they are still beautiful. It makes me so happy to know that much of them is government protected. In fact, my great-grandpappy's homestead is now part of a national park, mainly because he bequeathed it to be so. Anyway, the beauty is stunning, and I miss it so in the city. But the Little Rock area is mountainous also and very lovely. I feel so fortunate to dwell among the mountains in one of the loveliest states in the union. I have also visited Colorado and the State of Washington, and I have made the statement that I could live comfortably in either state if I didn't live in Arkansas. Thanks for saying it so beautifully, my friend Linda.

  • gypsumgirl profile image

    gypsumgirl 4 years ago from Vail Valley, Colorado

    Thanks for a great hub! After living in the mountains in Colorado for the last 14 years, I can totally relate to everything you mentioned about health, safety, and feeling at peace when in the mountains. I would never go back to an urban area, by choice. Thanks for sharing!

  • lrc7815 profile image
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    Linda Crist 4 years ago from Central Virginia

    Hi Carol. Thanks for stoppig by. I have not visited Prescott but have had several visits to Tuscon and the first time was surprised when I drove up to Mt. Lemon and found it to be quite similar to the mountains here at home. I did not expect to find a lush pine forest rising up from the desert. Nature never ceases to amaze me.

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    carol stanley 4 years ago from Arizona

    We do have mountains in Prescott..or at least we can view. I love mountains and all of outdoors. You did a wonderful job in expressing your feelings about these very large hills. voting UP+++

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    Linda Crist 4 years ago from Central Virginia

    Hi MH! You know what they say about hindsight. If only we had known then what we know now. But, we are all a little more reckless in our youth and miss some very lovely things in life.

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    Linda Crist 4 years ago from Central Virginia

    HLPhoenix, what a wonderful description of your mountains at Lake Tahoe. I could sense that you were as connected to them as I am to my own Blue Ridge Mountains. More importantly, you understood the "voices of the ancestors" and that to me, says it all. Thank you so much!

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    Martin Kloess 4 years ago from San Francisco

    Thank you for sharing this. Many moons ago I manged to survive CA's Rocky Mountains, around the Twin Buck area. Had I not been as reckless, I might be able to describe it as romantically as you.

  • HLPhoenix profile image

    HLPhoenix 4 years ago

    Mountain Time... what a perfect title. You took me back to my years living in Lake Tahoe... surrounded by mountains. Going up into the mountains, reaching the top, looking forward at the Lake way down there... with boats sailing, looking behind yourself... down into the valleys of Nevada, cows grazing... and beneath you, skiers zigging and zagging their way down.

    You speak of the "voices of the old ones..." in the mountains surrounding Lake Tahoe too, you can hear them whispering to you, and you pray that our societies will come to their senses, before it is too late.

    Thank you Irc, for reminding me of this very happy, peaceful time in my life.

  • lrc7815 profile image
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    Linda Crist 4 years ago from Central Virginia

    Hi Becky. Thanks for the lovely compliment. I visited Vermont only twice and found it to be very similar to my home here in Virginia. Oh how I would love to have a hammock near some of these beautiful creeks. I would never get anything done. lol

  • lrc7815 profile image
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    Linda Crist 4 years ago from Central Virginia

    Hello alwaysamber. Thank you for visiting my hub on the mountains I love so. They are very similar to the moutains you admired in Tennessee and yes, there is amazing serenity.

  • lrc7815 profile image
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    Linda Crist 4 years ago from Central Virginia

    Well, my kindred spirit, thank you for the ego boost. As for my mountains being small, it's all about perspective. lol It hardly seems fair to compare them to Ranier. :-)

  • shiningirisheyes profile image

    Shining Irish Eyes 4 years ago from Upstate, New York

    Such a beautifully written description of what sounds like a magnificent place. I reminisce of those wonderful summer days in the hills of Vermont in my Grandpa's hammock with the backdrop of the sound of rushing water.

    Thank you for giving me such a wonderful gift.

    Voting up

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    alwaysamber 4 years ago

    Great hub! I remember my trip to Colorado when I was a kid and also to Tennessee, back in 2006. I absolutely love the mountains. Such a serene place to be!

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    Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

    Your writing only gets better with time, and I agree totally about the mountains. Mt. Rainier is my church; it is where I feel closest to divinity....however....however....it's a shame you don't have real mountains instead of those hills. LOL

    hugs Kindred!