There is nothing quite like sunrise in the mountains. Watching the flickering shadows as the sun plays among the trees on the mountaintop as the earth wakes up. A country gentleman is standing on his front porch raising his coffee cup in greeting to the passing train. Even though it is nearly November, the occasional mountain peak is still showing their magnificent shades of red and gold. The sun glinting sideways across the deep red leaves makes them look almost plum...”purple mountain majesties.” The gold leaves haven’t yet lost their brilliance and still look like fire when the sun hits them.
I love to ride the rails. You travel through country that you might not otherwise see. There are what feels like miles and miles of coal cars parked on one of the side tracks high up in the mountains like bales of hay stacked up on the back 40 and leaving no doubt that the mine is nearby and there is still coal in these hills.
Then every once in a while you round the bend, quite literally, and the terrain opens up a little bit and there is a town, one of many you’ll encounter on your meanderings. The first thing you notice the tall, white steeple in the middle the church and the center of life in this remote community. Small little communities like those read about in history books, but that few people today will ever experience. Life here can be hard, but like so many who have come before them, these are people of faith who will find their way through.
We’ve wandered away from the river. You can tell it’s ready for winter. The water is low, waiting to be replenished by the winter snows. In some places there is almost no water. Here the water is still and so clear that you can see the riverbed, just a trickle. Snow and then spring can’t come to soon.