Recent Writings

WNC Residents Find Inspiration in Pilgrimage

Published December 23, 2017

Walnut tree on AVL Camino

Asheville resident Dearing Davis, a licensed clinical social worker and ceramic artist, is taking a sabbatical year to think about her path going forward. In that spirit, she was recently inspired to walk the Camino de Santiago, a 500-mile route through northwestern Spain. …

Davis is far from the only Western North Carolina resident to succumb to the Camino’s siren song. And some have gone so far as to try to re-create some semblance of that experience right here in Asheville.

Home, Sweet Home: A senior moves to West Asheville

Published November 5, 2017

At Firestorm Cafe

When I told a yoga friend that I was moving to West Asheville, she said, “West Asheville? Even I’m too old for West Asheville.” She was probably half my age.

Was she serious? I know several friends way past 50 who live here and love it. I’ve been to restaurants and even a couple of music venues in West Asheville, but what’s it like to live here? The neighborhood gets its share of out-of-town visitors, but I’m a resident now. I’m not going to go back to North Asheville for routine purchases.

Op-Ed | An Easterner’s View Of The Proposed $70 Entrance Fee

Published November 13, 2017

FNS-View of Long Pond from top

I am totally against this proposed fee hike for 17 of our famous parks, most in the West. Congress must fund the parks properly with our taxes. We have to step up and tell our representatives that national parks are important to us.

Now why would I say that? Why would I even care, as I live within 45 minutes of Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the best hiking park in the country, and almost within walking distance of the Blue Ridge Parkway? Neither charge an entrance fee. In fact, most of the parks in the South don’t charge a fee, and it would be easy for me to just ignore this proposed increase. I also have a Senior Pass that gains me free entry to the parks.

The Great Eclipse Party on Clingmans Dome in Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Published August 2017

2017 Eclipse on Clingmans Dome

The National Park Service knows how to a great party.

“We’ve been working on this eclipse event for over 13 months,” said Cassius Cash, superintendent of Great Smoky Mountains National Park, while standing at Clingmans Dome, on the border of North Carolina and Tennessee.

“Cash,” as the superintendent is known, was shaking hands and getting his picture taken with whomever asked. At 6,643 feet on the roof of the park, the weather Monday was mild, dry, and mostly sunny – perfect. You could see a partial eclipse anywhere in the United States, but on Clingmans Dome, it was going to be a total eclipse.

The Power of a Uniform

Published here

Elk in the Smokies

Elk #16 ambles through the field checking his harem. He sidles up to each cow and sniffs her rump. Raising his massive rack of antlers, he sees two young bucks, chases them out of the field, and resumes his inspection. He lifts his face to the sky and bugles – a loud, mournful sound that resounds through the Cataloochee Valley in the Smokies. Bugling tells females he’s here and warns other males to stay away. Then he goes back to grazing.