Thursday, June 24, 2010

In Beautiful Pocahontas County

These are photos taken yesterday and early this morning in Pocahontas county. I was there to be the Creative Writing Master for the Allegheny Echoes workshops. I didn't take many photos this trip. Sometimes I just want to live in the moment and not outside of it as a camera often requires the photographer to be.

Mouth a-runnin' as I tell some kind of tale high up on the mountain.


The heat was intense and unusual for this area of West Virginia where many people have no air conditioning because typically it doesn't get much over 80 degrees. Yesterday was 92, but the heat left with the sun and a bright, almost-full moon lit the evening wild meat cookout. Bear, elk stroganoff, deep-fried turkey, clams and clam chowder, venison chili and probably other meats were cooked by the men who supplied it. The bear was particularly interesting--it was slow-roasted in a pit in the earth, covered in red-hot coals. The final result was tender and as tasty as roast beef. We provided new potatoes and green beans from our garden, and Kirk Judd did the honors and cooked those up.

The evening's music was all flavors and levels of expertise. Master musicians such as Jimmy Costa, Tim Bing, Robin Kessinger, Jake Krack, Mike Bing, members of the Black Mountain Bluegrass Band, and many others were outside playing in jams on porches and the parking lot of the Marlinton Motor Inn, where Echoes is held each year. Beginners and intermediate players found others to play with them, or watched intently on the edges of jams, occasionally playing along when they could keep up. No one is left out who wants to play. The old-time music echoed from the hills until well after midnight. We reluctantly headed to bed at 1:30 am, knowing we had to be up early for the drive to Charleston to take me to an appointment and then to work.

Before the evening festivities, I conducted my workshop at a camp on the Greenbrier River. The views from this camp are breathtaking:

Shade gives way to field:

A bear scratched the trunk of this apple tree last winter. Look closely to see the scratch marks on the trunk in the middle of the photo.


The lovely Greenbrier River, where our sons competed in the Great Greenbrier River Race in April:


The one-lane bridge crossing the river looks right at home in its setting.

A barn with three lightning rods on Droop Mountain, between the camp and the motel:


And early this morning, The View from Little Laurel overlook on the Scenic highway (Route 150) :

A wildflower I am not familiar with. Can anyone identify this for me?

Mist was rising and flowing around us when I took this photo:


More wildflowers. I am not sure what the yellow ones are, but the red bergamot was lovely with the yellow flowerheads, white elderberry blossoms, and purple-pink crown vetch.

Then we had to quit fooling around and make some time getting back to our home territory. It is always difficult to leave Pocahontas county, and even more difficult to leave when so many good friends and great music are still there. Next year, I hope I can once again attend the whole week of workshops. There is nothing quite like a week in the mountains with musicians and artists, natural scenery all around, and long summer nights of music and laughter.
If you ever wanted to learn to play or write or sing, check into Allegheny Echoes. I can guarantee you will go home with the knowledge and creative energy you need to be successful. Not to mention a lot of new friends and memories that will bring you back like a homecoming to the Pocahontas county mountains.

11 comments:

DGranna said...

Thank you for the pictures, Granny Sue. This was the home county of my ancestors beginning in 1780s till 1860s. My 3gt grandfather's farm is still farmland on Stony Creek near Edray. I never lived there but have a tugging that makes me want to go back.
Daneille DGranna Grimes

Country Whispers said...

Sounds like a great weekend and your pictures our beautiful. It's those kinds of sites that make me love our state.

Granny Sue said...

DGranna, you would love it. Maybe sometime you can come home? Because if your people are from here, you're from here. That's how it works. If you can tell me exactly where your grandfather's land is, I will take photos for you. We were actually IN Edray for the workshops!

Granny Sue said...

You're right, Jessica. I can never get enough of looking at this place. Everywhere there is beauty. Not to say there isn't ugliness too, there's plenty of it. But nature is so abundant here that it overtakes the ugliness.

Nance said...

'tis true. "Because if your people are from here, you're from here. That's how it works." So true, Sue! My Mama's folks were from Wood Co, outside Parkersbug . . . I hear the "home place" calling now . . .

deborah said...

My grandfather's ancestors were also from that county in the early 1800's. Wow, its been many a year since I've heard the Bing Brothers, brings back many pleasant memories!
Isn't the yellow flower Colt's Foot?

Granny Sue said...

Your homeplace isn't far from me then, Nance. Do you ever get to come back? It wold be so nice to meet you.

OK, so deborah and DGranna, you two might be related! There weren't so many people in Pocahontas county that long ago.

The bing brothers are outstading. Tim has won many awards for his banjo playing and I freely admit to being a groupie. These guys are just good, and good people too.

I don't think it's coltsfoot, deborah, at least not what we cal coltsfoot in this area. You know how it is with flower names; they change from region to region. This is a tall flower, about 18"-3'. Coltsfoot usually hugs the ground closer than that.

Susan at Stony River said...

West Virginia has the most amazing events. And oh boy the heat - it was 92 today again, here anyhow, and miserable. At least it drops down to cool again overnight, that's a blessing the eastern cities don't always have.

Granny Sue said...

Susan, it was close to 100 in Charleston yesterday as we sweated through the book sale. Miserable does not begin to describe it. This is the hottest weather I can remember in years. I can't wait for summer to be over, and it's really just begun, .

Twisted Fencepost said...

Such beautiful places.
WV is such a beautiful place. No matter where you go.

Sandy said...

Granny Sue, I believe the yellow wildflower in your photo is called Yellow Goatsbeard. It's a non-native wildflower that was introduced to our region after the arrival of Europeans. Regardless, its lovely and quite prolific in Pocahontas County.
Our eyes see many beautiful wonders here in the mountains! We are truly blessed!

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