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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,

Of pines, and oaks, and whip-or-wills,

The Tazewell Turnpike winds its way

Like a lazy snake on a summer day;

For a while it follows the mountain side,

Goes in and out, and seems to hide

Until it comes to a narrow place

Built up of stones, on the mountain's face,--

There the road bends like a mighty bow

And the rock wall leaps to a gorge below.

Oh, many a stranger's climbed its side,

To drink from the flow of the forest tide

That crosses the road and gurgles away

Down through the gorge in its endless play,

Many a child has gathered ferns

From this garden of nature's sandstone urns;

The place is haunted, the neighbors say

By a showman who once passed this way.

Nick Winn was driving a circus cage

When this was the road of the Fancy Gap Stage;

His team pitched down the narrowing curve

Where danger lurks in the slightest swerve;

The Coaches wheels gave a sudden jilt,

That sent them bordering the rocky tilt,

The horses sprang at Nick Winn's yell

But the great coach missed the edge and fell,

Both horses and driver sprang to their death

On the rocks below in a moment's breath

So Nick Winn Hollow is haunted by him

And most any homefolks that circle the rim

Will tell of things that happen today

When a lone Waggoner is passing that way.

For suddenly out of the silence floats

The lumberous sound of this great old coach

The Waggoner draws his team aside

'till he knows the passing space is wide

Though it is hard to believe his ears

For the sound is loud, but nothing appears.

A whip cracks loud, a shout rings clear,

 And then somewhere in that sightless sphere,

A rush, a plunge, a frightful fall

Like something tumbling over the wall

Another shout the silence fills

And then the song of the whip-or-wills.

"Friend, who are you?", the Waggoner cries,

"Oh, I'm Nick Winn," a voice replies

The bewildered man yells, "Where are you?"

But a hoot owl answers, "Oh, who, who, who,"

And laughs, then all again is still

Except 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.

and

The Train of Dry Gulch Junction

 

 There on the trail of Molly Tynes,

 Once choked with limbs and hanging vines

 Are attractions for you to see,

 A panorama of beauty.

 For amusement, you need not go,

 Hundreds of weary miles or so.

 

 Remember your old winding road,

 Your first cars and your wagon’s load.

 Lone filling station at the top,

 For gas and oil would often stop,

 Oh! What a thrill back then would be,

 Touring in the old Model T.

 Upon your summit, as time has flown,

 Your attractions yearly have grown.

 There’s a gift shop, a souvenir,

 An observation tower near,

 A sky lift and a swinging bridge,

 Steam powered train runs on the ridge.

 And if you are a snake lover,

 Look down into the pit brother.

 

 Your steam train of Dry Gulch Junction

 Through frontier town soon will run.

 There’ll be cowboys, train robbery.

 Show of the can can girls will see.

 Across the trestle, a loop and back,

 A band of Indians will attack,

 We may hear shots and see ‘em fall,

 Will be the show place them all.

 

 From your tower there’s majesty,

 Lofty mountains, peaceful valley,

 Fragrant in spring and in summer,

 With mountain laurel and wild flower.

 In autumn days beauty untold,

 Tints of bright green, of red and gold,

 In winter snow clad crags and evergreen,

 Lie 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  

 

Through the Picture Glass

 

Mountains roll down to the valley below

and a silent peaceful feeling they do bestow.

In the spring and summer they are cloaked in green

and in the fall they have beauty city dwellers may not have seen.

 

This is the home to the deer, rabbits and birds

The beauty here can not truly be described in words.

The clouds sit like a halo upon their majestic heads

and the rain runs off them to fill the river beds.

 

Clouds drift above them with courtly grace

Thank you Lord for bringing me to this place.

I stand looking all around not able to make a sound

I feel so at ease in the presence of them all

It is the most stunning sight I ever saw.

 

Take the time to just look out

And soon the seed of Peace will sprout.

No matter how torn and tattered your soul

A long silent look will begin to mend every hole.

 

For this great miracle you can't find a price

Its free so take another moment and look twice.

Look down on the peaceful mountain pass

It's all right here through this picture glass.

 Wayne Parendo     6/26/92

Squirrels

 

Gray squirrels scurrying through the trees

Gray squirrels running around in the leaves.

Watch them sit and shake their bushy tail

Watch them jump as they set sail.

 

Chasing one another both high and low

They tag their brother and away they go

Climb up, then jump from away up high.

Then upon a limb they land as fall from the sky.

 

Squirrels that run, squirrels that stop, and some pass by

What energy they have, my oh my oh my

They sing, I'll chase you and you chase me

Then I'll hide somewhere you can't see.

 

When you find me I'll run down the tree

It feels so good to be so free.

That's why we run and play in the trees

Because us squirrels are as free as the breeze.

 

So lets run races in the piles of leaves

Then play tag and hide and seek in the trees.

Now you're it and must chase me up that tree

Until you tag me. It's so great to be so free.

 

                    Wayne Perando    June, 1992

Just a thought on Leaves and Trees

 

"Come my children and cover me."

For my protection from the sun you'll be.

From you shall nourishment come to me.

Together we as one shall be a tree.

 

In the spring you are a pale brilliant green

and by summer dark green is all that can be seen

Then as fall approaches magic once more fills the air.

It touches every ornament not one shall it spare.

 

The Hickories turn a bright yellow before brown.

The Maples & Oaks turn orange & red before they fall to the ground.

as they detach one by one the breeze blows them around.

They flip, flop, and turn over and over, round and round.

 

Then the tree speaks "children cover me."

and they fall to blanket the roots of the tree.

The earth is covered in a blanket of leaves,

to protect their parents, the great trees.

 

In a way it is kind of sad, all in all.

But if you have never been on a mountain in fall,

then I guess you probably never saw,

the greatest show of them all.

performed by the trees that stand so tall.

 

                             Wayne Perando

 

Upon Feathered Wings

 

To fly on feathered wings up so very high

to enjoy the freedom of sailing across the sky

I use the currents like highways

I can look down on the earth where beast graze

 

I dip whirl then glide along

the rush fills my heart with a song

The wind beneath my wings embraces me

I am the envy of all below who can see

 

I have a spirit that is fast & free

and that's how I shall always be

The things that plague men upon the ground

can not and never will hold me down

 

This inner peace that I now feel

is something that I know is real

Others may search and never find

my wonderfully free state of mind

 

 

A poem once told me by a hawk

 

Wayne Perando

 

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Big Walker Lookout
8711 Stoney Fork Rd.
Wytheville, VA 24382
276-663-4016


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