⌗AtoZ Challenge, 21st April 2020, Reverie in the Blue Ridge Mountains


Welcome to my blog Life in Poetry.

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Welcome to the 2020 APRIL A to Z Challenge

Over Half-Way there, Hang On.

Quote of the Day :  The path to wisdom and freedom is one that leads you to the heart of your own soul.

Mircea Eliade (Romanian historian and novelist, 1907-1986)

if you would like to know more about the A to Z Challenge, founded 11 years ago by Arlee Bird at Tossing Out,  read here

for my theme revealed , go here on Blogger

On WordPress, read here 

My Sixteenth extract from my novel in progress will appear towards the middle of the novel. Mathilda is still in Cherokee. Today she is hiking in the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Brief synopsis of plot and characters :

Mathilda, my first main character, is American and lives in New York City. She is a student at NYU where she is preparing a thesis on the origins and developments of African American Music. She is a first person narrator. Her timeframe is 2005. In my previous extracts, Mathilda has travelled to New Orleans, Jekyll Island, Florida, Hattiesburg and Cherokee.

Bartolomé, my second main character, is Cameroonian and lives in Yaoundé. He is a professor of Mathematics at the University there. I will be using a third-person narrator for this character from his Point of View. His timeframe is the early ’90’s. In my previous extracts, Bartolomé has made a trip up North for his grand-father’s funeral and decided to leave Yaoundé behind for good.

Reverie in The Blue Ridge Mountains.

I leave the cabin at 6.30 am, backpack slung on my shoulder filled with lunch, fruit, water canteen; maps in the transparent top pocket; dry socks and t-shirt, sneakers and rain cape. Down the slope I wave to Bud Lambert who rents me the log cabin, pottering in his vegetable garden.

I make my way across town and onto Goose Creek road, past Uncle Ike’s Old Mill, the Holiday Inn and Jenkin’s grocery store. Then I climb Fisher’s ridge, past the casino and arrive at the Oconoluftee River. There from the log bridge and the banks, a host of Cherokee are already in full swing : Saturday’s trout fiching contest. Some look up at me as I cross over, a hint of surprise on their features at seeing an African-American in their midst. No one engages in conversation and I don’t wonder as this is their reservation, they are concentrated on their intent and don’t have time for tourists today.

So as not to distract them further, I quicken my pace towards the rising sun and the ridge, rocked by the gentle gurgle of the river.

Suddenly after a bend in the path, I hear a rush of falling water. that becomes a roar as I approach Mango Hill. The track twists and turns among towering firs and damp hemlock, then opens up to reveal the Mango Waterfall.

I unhinge my pack from my sweaty back and find a cosy spot of pine needle-covered moss to contemplate the spectacle. What a peaceful and cool haven, I think, after the heat and bustle of the Deep South. For the first time in weeks, I feel on holiday from my research. Although I try to write up my notes every day, I am not planning visits or interviews this week. So I can take a step back and enjoy the moment.

I fish an apple out of my bag and as I sink my teeth into its patchy skin, my mind wanders over the nature in front of me, then reaches back to the past month of travelling.

I keep thinking about Annabella and New Orleans. I’ve had her on the phone a few times since Hattiesburg, so I’m not so much worried anymore as deeply sad for all the recent misfortunes that New Orleans and its people have had to bear. I also remember the reactions of solidarity shown by the Baptist Church of True Light community in Tuscaloosa and their wave of relief funds sent to New Orleans parishes by the Mississippi folk even though they have had to deal with some pretty devastating floods this year too.

My mind jumps to the Gospel service I attended there : the chants and music invade my ears and mingle with the drums from the Cherokee heritage Museum.

And then it hits me. My thesis seems to thicken with every new discovery and my subject matter stretches down like a bottomless pit the more I learn and experience along the way. The expanse of variety to Jazz and its origins is endless. I wonder if I shouldn’t make a drastic change of plan and shift my focus, choosing just one major influence that led to one aspect of the creation of Jazz. I have to take into account three factors : the melodies, the instruments and the songs, in order to pinpoint what sparks the birth of a new genre.

My brain starts to fizzle with connecting synapses, so I look at the Mango fall again. No, today I’m going to enjoy my hike, live in this peaceful instant and forget about work. 

Maybe I’ll meet a bear in the woods and ask him what he thinks. My inner chuckle transports me back to the trail and my steps.

©susanbauryrouchard

Hugh Coltman, Nature Boy, Live La Défense Paris, 2016  here

                          Magpie, 2009, here

Coldplay, Hymn for the Weekend, 2015, here

                Don’t Panic, 2011, here

                 Sparks, 2011, here

My photos Smoky Mountains National Park, April 2008

Laura Falls

Heritage site

Why they’re called “Blue”

Wild Deer

Thank you for visiting. More tomorrow. Please feel free to comment and I will be sure to reply.

Sun is back after a week of April showers and cool spells. Roses blooming. Fruit on the cherry tree budding among the newly born leaves.

4 thoughts on “⌗AtoZ Challenge, 21st April 2020, Reverie in the Blue Ridge Mountains

  1. Gorgeous photos as usual, Susan – you have an eye for a scene. I’ve been inspired by Mircea Eliade for decades, especially his writing on shamanism. So this quote is so true: ‘The path to wisdom and freedom is one that leads you to the heart of your own soul’.

    Liked by 1 person

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