A View From Big Walker
I sit this moment way upon high.
The only thing that surrounds me is the sky.
I look down upon the earth beneath me
and beauty that God's hand created is all I see.
Field and meadow in their varying shades of green
and forested mountains can all be easily seen.
The breeze blows up to greet me as a friend
and then introduces me to its parent the wind.
A light haze compassionately covers the valleys below
and the sense of freedom my spirit feels, most will never know.
Golden sunlight is all about me here way upon high.
A hawk flies and greets me here like a brother of the sky.
The wind sings a melody through the trees.
The experience is so breath taking it nearly buckles my knees.
The fragrance of summer hangs here in the air
and this experience is one I would like to share
for it removed my burdens and left me without a care.
This, in comparison to life, seems so unfair.
If every man could feel what I now do
the world would be filled with happiness that is true.
The rest of what I feel I can't describe in words,
but you should come and see, up here with the birds.
I feel so good I could almost cry
here where I am way upon high.
Written by Wayne Perando June 25, 1992.
The Legend of Nick Winn Hollow
Up in Stony Lonesome's Hills,
pines, and oaks, and whip-or-wills,
Turnpike winds its way
lazy snake on a summer day;
while it follows the mountain side,
in and out, and seems to hide
it comes to a narrow place
up of stones, on the mountain's face,--
the road bends like a mighty bow
the rock wall leaps to a gorge below.
many a stranger's climbed its side,
To drink from the flow of the forest tide
That crosses the road and gurgles away
through the gorge in its endless play,
child has gathered ferns
this garden of nature's sandstone urns;
place is haunted, the neighbors say
showman who once passed this way.
Winn was driving a circus cage
this was the road of the Fancy Gap Stage;
team pitched down the narrowing curve
danger lurks in the slightest swerve;
Coaches wheels gave a sudden jilt,
sent them bordering the rocky tilt,
horses sprang at Nick Winn's yell
the great coach missed the edge and fell,
horses and driver sprang to their death
rocks below in a moment's breath
Nick Winn Hollow is haunted by him
most any homefolks that circle the rim
tell of things that happen today
lone Waggoner is passing that way.
suddenly out of the silence floats
lumberous sound of this great old coach
draws his team aside
he knows the passing space is wide
it is hard to believe his ears
the sound is loud, but nothing appears.
cracks loud, a shout rings clear,
somewhere in that sightless sphere,
rush, a plunge, a frightful fall
something tumbling over the wall
shout the silence fills
then the song of the whip-or-wills.
who are you?", the Waggoner cries,
I'm Nick Winn," a voice replies
bewildered man yells, "Where are you?"
hoot owl answers, "Oh, who, who, who,"
laughs, then all again is still
for the song of the whip-or-will.
Emily O. Brady
NIGHT RIDE OF MOLLY TYNES
JULY ONE HUNDRED FORTY SEVEN YEARS AGO
No one remembers now I know,
Has been one hundred years ago.
Brave Molly was eighteen years old,
Of pioneer folk, daring and bold.
Her form and face were very fair,
In curly tresses wore her hair.
Was from the vale of "Rocky Dell,"
Of her night ride I wish to tell.
In July eighteen sixty three,
On thousand union cavalry
With General Toland in command,
Invaded Tazewell County land.
Had arrived at the Perry Farm
The sound of hooves gave great alarm.
From house to house news spread quickly,
Reaching the ears of brave Molly.
As the colorful story goes,
At once dauntless Molly arose.
Took from an old chest papers there,
Saddled "Fashion," her own bay mare,
Fleetest and surest in the stall
Faded in the dusk of nightfall;
On a daring mission to fill,
Her objective far off Wytheville.
Her bridle path that mid-night led
Across mountains steep and rugged
Infested with bear, wolves, panthers
Lurking robbers and deserters.
Lashed with tree tops and hanging vines
All through the night rode Molly Tynes
And as she sped in pale moon light
She held the fate of a town that night.
Through Burkes Garden she shouts warning
At dawn , "The Yankees are coming."
Now spurring her fleet foaming steed
Over a trail that slowed her speed,
Like Paul Revere hears barking dog
As she rides feels the mountain fog.
On Big Walker, pauses to listen,
Where the dewy forest tips glisten.
At Stony Creek, by four o'clock
'Tis here she hears the crowing cock.
At day break she cries at Wytheville,
Women, children flee to the hill,
From street to street she spreads alarm,
Old men and boys and women arm.
Shouts with tattered bonnet waving.
"To arms the Yankees are coming..."
You know the story on Tazewell Street,
Toland lay dead, Yankees retreat.
Was there Captain Dulaney fell,
And wounded was Major Powell,
Routed was the Yankee army
With casualties of eighty three.
Defeated by old men and boys,
And by a train's whistling noise.
Foiled by a girl's amazing ride
With youth and courage on her side
Four hundred miles the Federals made
In a profitless eight day raid.
They failed to cut the railroad line
Failed to capture salt and lead mine,
A hot skirmish it was back then
On a July morning at ten.
The stars and bars now flutter still
In the Old Village of Jeffersonville.
The Confederate cross a vigil keeps,
The place where a heroine sleeps.
Beneath the sod she loved so well
She rests in her beloved Tazewell.
This goes in these lines,
The wiles of brave Molly Tynes.
HOMER B. UMBERGER
On The Top of Big Walker Mt.
The Train of Dry Gulch Junction
on the trail of Molly Tynes,
choked with limbs and hanging vines
attractions for you to see,
panorama of beauty.
amusement, you need not go,
of weary miles or so.
your old winding road,
first cars and your wagon’s load.
filling station at the top,
gas and oil would often stop,
What a thrill back then would be,
Touring in the old Model T.
your summit, as time has flown,
attractions yearly have grown.
a gift shop, a souvenir,
observation tower near,
sky lift and a swinging bridge,
powered train runs on the ridge.
if you are a snake lover,
down into the pit brother.
steam train of Dry Gulch Junction
frontier town soon will run.
be cowboys, train robbery.
of the can can girls will see.
the trestle, a loop and back,
band of Indians will attack,
may hear shots and see ‘em fall,
be the show place them all.
your tower there’s majesty,
mountains, peaceful valley,
in spring and in summer,
mountain laurel and wild flower.
autumn days beauty untold,
of bright green, of red and gold,
winter snow clad crags and evergreen,
before you; an awe-inspiring scene.
Written by Homer B. Umberger in 1966 and dedicated to Mr. and Mrs. Stuart Kime.
Note! The Dry Gulch Junction was closed in 1981
the Picture Glass
roll down to the valley below
a silent peaceful feeling they do bestow.
the spring and summer they are cloaked in green
in the fall they have beauty city dwellers may not have seen.
is the home to the deer, rabbits and birds
The beauty here can not truly be described in words.
clouds sit like a halo upon their majestic heads
the rain runs off them to fill the river beds.
drift above them with courtly grace
you Lord for bringing me to this place.
stand looking all around not able to make a sound
feel so at ease in the presence of them all
is the most stunning sight I ever saw.
the time to just look out
soon the seed of Peace will sprout.
matter how torn and tattered your soul
A long silent look will begin to mend every hole.
this great miracle you can't find a price
Its free so take another moment and look twice.
down on the peaceful mountain pass
It's all right here through this picture glass.
squirrels scurrying through the trees
squirrels running around in the leaves.
them sit and shake their bushy tail
them jump as they set sail.
one another both high and low
tag their brother and away they go
up, then jump from away up high.
upon a limb they land as fall from the sky.
that run, squirrels that stop, and some pass by
energy they have, my oh my oh my
sing, I'll chase you and you chase me
I'll hide somewhere you can't see.
you find me I'll run down the tree
feels so good to be so free.
why we run and play in the trees
us squirrels are as free as the breeze.
lets run races in the piles of leaves
play tag and hide and seek in the trees.
you're it and must chase me up that tree
you tag me. It's so great to be so free.
Wayne Perando June, 1992
Just a thought
on Leaves and Trees
my children and cover me."
my protection from the sun you'll be.
you shall nourishment come to me.
we as one shall be a tree.
the spring you are a pale brilliant green
by summer dark green is all that can be seen
as fall approaches magic once more fills the air.
touches every ornament not one shall it spare.
Hickories turn a bright yellow before brown.
Maples & Oaks turn orange & red before they fall to the ground.
they detach one by one the breeze blows them around.
flip, flop, and turn over and over, round and round.
the tree speaks "children cover me."
they fall to blanket the roots of the tree.
earth is covered in a blanket of leaves,
protect their parents, the great trees.
a way it is kind of sad, all in all.
if you have never been on a mountain in fall,
I guess you probably never saw,
greatest show of them all.
by the trees that stand so tall.