The Masonic Marker hidden deep in the woods on the border of the Smoky Mountains and Blue Ridge Parkway. Constructed in 1938, the monument contains stones from most all the states and 41 countries. I guess this is where our illustrious leaders used to (or still do) gather, dance around naked, and worship Moloch. Creeps.

“You know that kind of quiver that trembles around through you when you are seeing something so strange and enchanting and wonderful that it is just a fearful joy to be alive and look at it; and you know how you gaze, and your lips turn dry and your breath comes short, but you wouldn’t be anywhere but there, not for the world.” ~Mark Twain

His gaze can be a little intense.

“In 1908 Sherman Hensley and Willie Gibbons were determined their children would be educated; traveling to Pineville to see the Bell County Superintendent of Schools, they were told they needed a building before a teacher would be sent up the mountain. So, as Sherman told it, they “built a little shack way out in the brush yander that they called the Chimney Rocks where there is a high knob and some cliffs standing . .down under the hill where there was a sprang . . right up close by.”

By the time the school closed in 1947, four different structures had served as the Brush Mountain school.

The settlement was a remote homesteading community on Brush Mountain in Kentucky from round about the late 1800’s to 1950 (ish).

Jack is a rescue that we adopted from the East Tennessee Border Collie Rescue. All we know of his original owner was that he was an elderly man in Kentucky.

We don’t have any reason to believe he was abused, but early on, he had a propensity to revert to the wilds. He could be quite aggressive if he felt threatened, or just didn’t know how to interact with people, certainly the result of some neglect. In fact, one “trainer” we visited, a lady that will go unnamed, even suggested euthanizing him. In not so many words, I politely expressed my disgust with her incompetence and informed her that, under my watch, that will never happen.

It was a simple case of understanding that Jack had been left to figure things out for himself in his previous life, and we fully realized adopting a rescue was a leap into the unknown that would present additional challenges. It’s been almost four years now and through diligence, compassion, patience, and hugs, Jack has grown into a fine gentleman.

“Some say that the place was bewitched by a High German doctor, during the early days of the settlement; others, that an old Indian chief, the prophet or wizard of his tribe, held his powwows there before the country was discovered by Master Hendrick Hudson. Certain it is, the place still continues under the sway of some witching power, that holds a spell over the minds of the good people, causing them to walk in a continual reverie. They are given to all kinds of marvelous beliefs, are subject to trances and visions, and frequently see strange sights, and hear music and voices in the air. The whole neighborhood abounds with local tales, haunted spots, and twilight superstitions; stars shoot and meteors glare oftener across the valley than in any other part of the country, and the nightmare, with her whole ninefold, seems to make it the favorite scene of her gambols.”

~Washington Irving

The Legend of Sleepy Hollow

“Be as I am, a reluctant enthusiast..a part-time crusader, a half-hearted fanatic….So get out there and hunt and fish and mess around with your friends, ramble out yonder and explore the forests, climb the mountains, bag the peaks, run the rivers, breathe deep of that yet sweet and lucid air, sit quietly for a while and contemplate the precious stillness, the lovely, mysterious, and awesome space.” ~Edward Abbey