A Magical, Late-Autumn Walk

Well, of course, I know it’s not autumn.  And spring, I suppose, is an odd time to post autumn pictures.  But since Blue Ridge Blue Collar Man has been on my mind a lot lately and since I’m trying to fill my headspace with happy thoughts to crowd out dark imaginings, I thought it’d be a good time to finally post some pictures from a magical walk we took in November. I say “magical” because, well…it was.  Late fall, still a little color in the leaves, not too hot or too cold, lovely setting with forest and mountains and big, big sky,  and the finest of companions.  Plus, in seven miles of hiking, we didn’t meet another soul (except for the horses and mule, that is).

I apologize for not posting last week–we’ve had a few hiccups that we’re still hoping will be small ones.  Blue Ridge Blue Collar Man hurt his knee, a meniscus tear, so we surely won’t be hiking for a while.  We’re still trying to figure out why the Worker’s Comp people think he can work, since much of his work involves lots of walking while carrying heavy loads and crawling about on his knees.  A couple of other hiccups, as well, that we won’t know the outcome of for a while, but they occupy my thoughts just enough to make it hard to write. But, back to happy thoughts…

The place where we hiked was the site of homesteads long ago, and while there were few signs of where the houses had stood, the apple trees the settlers had planted were still there, still bearing apples.  Gnarly little apples to be sure, but they certainly made fine apple bread later.  In fact, the only living beings (beside birds and bugs) we saw, three horses and one mule, quickly smelled the apples that we’d stuffed in our backpack and pockets and followed us all the way back to the truck.  One even stuck his head through the window of the truck after I got in, and they were all staring accusingly at us as we drove away.  I felt quite guilty not to give them apple treats, but I only had enough for the aforementioned apple bread.  But I promised them that we’d come back next fall and would pick enough apples then to share.  And, God willing, we will.  I’d sure hate to break my promise to my four-legged friends, even if they only loved me for my apples. 🙂

(Follow the apple-strewn trail…)

31 Responses to “A Magical, Late-Autumn Walk”

  1. Elora Says:

    Beautiful, as usual, Beth! Thank you for the lovely photos!


  2. betsyfromtennessee Says:

    Hi Beth, We are having a great time in Georgia, celebrating G’s birthday… Just wanted to stop by and tell you that a meniscus tear is what I had in June. I had to have surgery on that left knee –because there was so much pain, I couldn’t walk at all. I hope your hubby’s isn’t that bad. BUT–if it is, tell him to get that surgery. It worked for me –and I’m so glad I did it. Hope the workman’s comp comes through…

    Beautiful pictures from your long hike in Nov.

  3. CountryDew Says:

    Lovely shots. I hope the hubby’s knee feels better soon.

  4. Darla Says:

    Gorgeous photos from a glorious countryside! Many happy thoughts and blessings to you and BRBCMan!

  5. sweetflutterbys Says:

    Breathtaking! I can smell the wonderful crisp air right now (well, maybe not. But I wish I could!)

    I hope Blue Ridge Blue Collar guy’s knee gets better soon. Those types of injuries can hurt like crazy. I had one years ago and I still cringe when I think of it.

  6. Martha Says:

    Any time is a good time for such gorgeous photos. I’m sorry to hear about your hubby; I wish him well, a speedy recovery, and hope that the worker’s comp comes through. Sometimes these places can be hard (frustrating) to deal with. In the meantime, think happy thoughts; think about your hubby healing and going on another magical walk with you this fall where your four-legged friends are waiting for apple treats. Sounds heavenly! All the best, Beth, from your friend in the Great White North 🙂

  7. Sharon Says:

    And the beat goes on. Hope this knee thing and the other things will resolve themselves soon. You are in my thoughts.

  8. eemilla Says:

    Those magical hikes are why we live here, right? Good luck on the work comp; I’ll be wishing you the best.

  9. The Southern Lady Says:

    Hi Beth, So sorry to hear about your husband’s knee and praying things work out for you all. The photos are breathtaking as usual. I could just imagine being on that trail myself. I can also imagine the animals following you back to the truck. lol. You truly are living in God’s country! Hope you are having a good weekend. This made me want to visit Amish country near where I used to run my store. The scenery is a lot like yours.

  10. Rider Says:

    A hike in the Blue Ridge Mountains always sends me on a fanciful flight of imagination. Here in Virginia I’m magically transported back to 1862 and Stonewall Jackson’s Valley Campaign. Your pictures, particularly the picture of an apple-strewn trail in North Carolina, sent me on a different flight of imagination.

    What if the apples on the trail didn’t come from trees planted by the long-gone homesteaders? What if the apples came from trees grown from seeds planted by the tall and slim and extraordinarily good Johnny Appleseed?

    Then there would be a link, separated only by time, among the Mountains and the three horses and the mule and Mr. Appleseed. And you, Ms. Blue.

  11. Debi Says:

    Wow, look at all those apples!

    I’m sorry to hear about Blue Collar Man. That is terrible! There have been a couple of stories in Dan Casey’s column in The Roanoke Times about the horrible worker’s compensation situation here. One was about this guy who fell off the roof while installing something for a TV and he hit his head and was knocked out. Was in pretty bad condition but survived. However, he couldn’t remember the actual accident and no other employees or the homeowner had seen anything–they just found him there, unconscious. Worker’s compensation refused to pay him anything because he couldn’t remember the accident. They nearly lost their home to foreclosure. I don’t remember how his actual case turned out but the uproar caused the lawmakers here to make a new law that a person doesn’t have to remember the accident to collect the worker’s compensation that’s due them. But all the people who have suffered!

    You’re in my thoughts Beth. Hang in there.

  12. Vicki Lane Says:

    Lovely pictures! We’re lucky to live in a place with different seasons– all beautiful.

  13. clairz Says:

    I don’t know how I missed this post, Beth. I’m so sorry about your husband’s knee and insurance issues. It’s very easy to feel powerless when dealing something like that. I will sit in the Beth Chair and send good thoughts your way.

  14. Jeff Says:

    Too bad the mule and the horses didn’t have an “apple trail” that would lead them to all those apples on the ground! Re: workman’s comp: the reason that workman’s comp is so hard to collect is because it is funded by the companies themselves. When an employee files a workman’s comp claim, the insurance company jacks up the required contribution from the company involved. Since this is a “hit” to the company’s bottom line, companies which are “hit” with workman’s comp claims fight vigorously to deny the individuals’ claim. It’s called good old free enterprise American capitalism. As in, more for me and nothing for you. You know, what the Republicans worship – greed.

  15. Benjamin Says:

    I didn’t remember him sticking his head in. Did he have bad breath?

  16. sweetridgesisters Says:

    Thank you for sharing their pictures and your beautiful afternoon on the trail. I will keep Blue Collar Man in my prayers. Best of luck with the workers comp.

  17. clairz Says:

    Hi, dear Beth! I know I’ve already commented on this post, but just wanted to check in. Hope things are looking up!

  18. Rider Says:

    Your last posting occurred March 9th, more than a month ago. We, your faithful readers, haven’t heard from you since.

    In your “Cheep Therapy” posting you wrote that “something happened that knocked us all for a loop.” Then you wrote that you didn’t “want to get into it here, but suffice to say, it brought back memories that [you] thought were long buried. Heartbreaking, hurtful memories.”

    In your present posting you write about “a few hiccups that [you’re] still hoping will be small ones.” Two of them are Mr. Blue’s meniscus tear and his trouble with Workmen’s Compensation. But there are “[a] couple of others . . . that [you] won’t know the outcome of for a while . . . .”

    From your month-long silence, we reasonably can conclude there’s now cause for worry, Ms. Blue. So, our thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.

    • blueridgebluecollargirl Says:

      Thank you, Rider, for your kind concern. I was touched by your comment. It’s always gratifying to know that someone misses you when you’re gone.

      I apologize for being out of touch. One reason is that my ancient computer gave up the ghost recently after being zapped by a power surge (I think). I felt far more bereft than I would have expected, so I finally caved and bought the cheapest computer tower Staples offered. So here I am at last back online, but feeling oddly tongue-tied. Mr. Blue’s knee is feeling better, by the way, but he’s still not able to work. The doctor says he needs a complete knee replacement, but unless Worker’s Comp will cover it, he won’t be having that. But his meniscus, at least, seems to be knitting itself back together, so I expect he’ll soon be back to work, though unable to do the kneeling and ladder climbing that his maintenance job so often requires.

      The other matters I rather obliquely referred to are still not resolved, but hopefully will be soon, one way or the other. I apologize for sounding flaky or evasive. I don’t mean to be mysterious. I guess it’s because those matters are of a more personal nature or are too complicated to explain. I guess my mentioning them, in even such an indirect way, is my way of exposing some of the things that scare me to the light—-a way to make them less powerful. And maybe a way to elicit good thoughts and prayers—-we can certainly use them.

      Thanks again for asking after the Blue family—it means a lot. And thanks to all my other commenters for your kind thoughts and prayers. I’ll be sure to visit your blogs soon and maybe even write a post on mine. 🙂


  19. Rider Says:

    Yours is a beautifully written comment. I’m grateful to you for writing it.

    You could have posted it as a blog entry. That’s because we, your faithful readers, are as interested in your thoughts about you as we are in your thoughts about nature.

    In contrast to you, Henry David Thoreau was limited in his writing. He wrote about nature and about disobedience to government. That’s because he had no family, and he wouldn’t pay his taxes. You, as the matriarch of the Blue Family, are a thousand times richer than he was, and you’re not so limited. You’re able to write both about nature AND about family.

    Anyway, I’m glad you’re well and back in the Networld. And I’m glad Mr. Blue is getting better.

    You’ve been missed, Ms. Blue.

  20. Bonnie Jacobs Says:

    I miss you, and to entice you out again … ta-da! … I’ve tagged you to do a meme, if you are willing and have the time. It was fun for me to do.


  21. Rider Says:

    This is a short note to show we haven’t forgotten you, Ms. Blue.

    When I first read your posting and saw your pictures of the apple-strewn trail in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains, Johnny Appleseed came to mind. And so I purchased a biography of Mr. John Chapman, (Appleseed’s real name) authored by Howard Means. Therein I found an anecdote that might appeal to you, the daughter of a preacher.

    A fire-and-brimstone, fundamentalist preacher was preaching about the sin of pride in a town square in Ohio in about 1829. As such preachers do, he called out a question to his followers in his loudest voice: “Where now is your barefooted [primitive Christian] . . . on his way to Heaven?”

    The preacher must have been amazed at the response. Johnny Appleseed stepped forward and held up his bare foot. “Here he is,” Appleseed replied.

    According to Means, Appleseed “would have been dressed in his usual assortment of patchwork rags . . .; his hair and beard, long, scraggly, unkempt perhaps even by frontier standards; those dark eyes almost like glowing embers . . . . That was what nature had given him, [and] his self-nurture was entirely compatible. Chapman’s diet, in fact, was straight out of the John the Baptist cookbook: honey, berries, fruit, some cornmeal for mush, milk whenever it was available. . . . Locusts, a favorite snack of John the Baptist, would have taxed Chapman’s animism, but in other ways, the two channeled each other. It was almost as if Chapman were trying out for the part of ‘primitive Christian.'”


    You’re missed, Ms. Blue. I hope you post again soon.

    • blueridgebluecollargirl Says:

      Thank you so much for checking in with me, Rider. And thank you for missing me. Mr. Blue and I have been feeling especially insignificant these days in our struggles with various bureaucracies, so your comment was particularly gratifying.

      And thanks, too, for the wonderful anecdote about John Chapman. I loved the reference to his diet being “straight out of the John the Baptist cookbook.” 🙂 I shall definitely be checking my local library for that book. I’ve always been fascinated by Johnny Appleseed, and after you made your earlier comment pondering the possibilities of Johnny Appleseed having planted the apple trees that we saw on our hike, I (curious person that I am) researched whether that could be the case. Alas, I found out that his wanderings didn’t include trips to North Carolina. But I still like to imagine that maybe the trees could have come from one of the many nurseries where his planted trees were sold (and given away). And, by the way, Mr. Blue and I were just recently discussing how surprising it is that no one has made a serious movie about John Chapman’s life. He was such a fascinating man—-a sort of spiritual mystic and, yes, maybe a little crazy. It would make such a good movie!

      Anyway, thanks again for saying hello—-I really appreciate it.


      • Rider Says:

        You’re involved in various workers’ compensation hearings, aren’t you? It’s an unequal contest, I bet. Those bureaucrats just don’t stand a chance against you and Mr. Blue, do they?

        Give ’em the dickens, Beth.

        As for your and Mr. Blue’s idea of a serious movie about the life of John Chapman, my first thought was, “It can’t be done.” There’s no American frontier now. The country that existed in Johnny Appleseed’s time is no more. We’ve replaced Mr. Appleseed with critics and cynics, and we refuse to suspend belief, something any movie about Chapman’s life will require.

        Then I remembered “Dances with Wolves,” and I decided you’re right. The Chapman movie can — and it should — be made.

        Anyway, here’s wishing you and Mr. Blue the best of luck.

  22. Rider Says:

    You and I are fans of Henry David Thoreau and Johnny Appleseed, Ms. Blue. Both were free-souled individuals. You and Mr. Blue are too, I’m sure, there in the North Carolina Blue Ridge Mountains.

    This is written and filmed about another free-souled individual. It’ll make you smile. Let it fill your monitor, turn it up (but not too loud), and enjoy.


    • blueridgebluecollargirl Says:

      Thanks, Rider…that was a wonderful video. I especially liked what he said about how when he’s riding his motorcycle that the ground and the sky are so white that there is no boundary between them. What a great image! I can tell you that Mr. Blue will love this video—he’s a gearhead from way back. He had a brief flirtation with motorcycles in his youth, but settled finally on old cars as his passion. When we were married over 24 years ago, we took our honeymoon in his old Volvo 122. I wish we still had it. I loved that car.

      By the way, we just watched a movie a couple of weeks ago that I’ll bet you’d like if you haven’t seen it. It’s “The World’s Fastest Indian” with Anthony Hopkins. I wouldn’t say it’s a perfect movie or Anthony Hopkin’s best, but it left Mr. Blue and me smiling. And. Lord knows, that is just what we need right now.

      • Rider Says:

        I’m glad you liked the video, Ms. Blue. It reminded me of the book “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance” in a shortened, video form. Motorcycles and inner peace. Only Robert Pirsig (author of “Zen and the Art”), Shinya Kimura (the subject of the video), and long-time riders know they’re harmonious.

        I liked reading that Mr. Blue is a gearhead from way back, that you two’ve been married for more than 24 years, and that you and he loved and honeymooned in your old Volvo 122. Those things confirm there’s a quiet competence and an insularity to you both. It’s the same quiet competence and insularity found in John Chapman and Henry David Thoreau. Were the apocalypse to occur tomorrow, you and Mr. Blue could continue living as happily as if nothing happened. (I mean that as a compliment, in case there’s any doubt.)

        It’s good that “The World’s Fastest Indian,” a motorcycle movie, made you smile. Now I need to watch it, too.

  23. Clara Melvin Says:

    Hello Beth.. Just checking in on you to see how you and Mr. Blue are doing. I’m missing reading your posts. Hope everything is well over your way!

  24. clairz Says:

    Hi, Beth. I wanted you to know that you’ve been on my mind lately. Sending my best to you!

  25. blueridgebluecollargirl Says:

    A quick hello to Bonnie, Clara, and Clair…many thanks to y’all for checking in on me (and to everyone else who’s written). I do apologize for my paucity of posts—feeling a bit tongue-tied, but will post soon regardless. Perhaps photos of life at the Doublewide Ranch, if nothing else…

  26. Debi Says:

    I’m checking too. At least post some pictures.

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