Blue Ridge Mountain Range, Western N. Carolina, Photo: Gaye Abbott
Hiking up 1400 feet of elevation on part of the Appalachian Trail we came around a bend in the trail taking in the fresh air gifted by the surrounding trees and plants. Then there it was, Nature’s artistry. Spread out before us was a carpet of Trillium on both sides of the trail.
Truly a magical place where I thought at any moment a faerie would come out among the flowers and whisper nature’s wisdom into my ear. It was silent of man made noise and only nature present to awaken our senses. An almost mystical experience where connection with the wild evolved moment by moment.
Appalachian Trail Near Hot Springs, Western N. Carolina. Photo: Gaye Abbott
The Blue Ridge Mountains are ancient at over 1 billion years of age created by the uplifting of the Earth’s tectonic plates. They are second in age to South Africa’s Barberton greenstone belt. If you can believe it, in comparison with the Blue Ridge, the Rockies and Himalayas are young “upstarts.”
Divided into Northern and Southern sections by the Roanoke River gap, the Blue Ridge traverses 8 states: Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, Tennessee, North Carolina, and Georgia, with the longest portion slicing a great crescent through all of western Virginia. Starting as a narrow ridge, the range widens as it goes south, stretching 70 miles across at its widest point in North Carolina.
Humans arrived in the Blue Ridge perhaps as early as 12,000 years ago. The Siouxan Manhouacs, Iroquois, and Shawnee all hunted and fished the Blue Ridge in Virginia, and the Cherokee lived in the Blue Ridge in what is now Great Smoky Mountains National Park in N. Carolina.
These ancient mountains speak the wisdom of wildness into the ear of anyone that is fortunate enough to live close by or embraced by the rounded peaks. For those that listen to the voices of nature – and yes faeries are a possibility – you may notice a transformation taking place within.
Blue Ridge Mountain Range, Western N. Carolina. Photo: Gaye Abbott
A fresh expanded perception of how you fit into the wildness of nature. That you are indeed so intimately connected that you lose all sense of nature as “other”. That you are that and nature is you.
Daring to be wild is connecting deeply with the ancient natural wisdom and rhythms within you. Remembering what it is to be at one with your senses wide awake.
Be wild now and then. You’ll find connection again.
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Gaye Abbott, Wildly Free Elder, 12/28/22