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I believe I am an anthology of stories. I am the keeper of all that I have been a witness to or learned about, felt or experienced, or even read about with my ancestors. I am telling their stories too. It all needs to be told and retold. My 3rd great grandmother on my Mother’s side was a full blooded Cherokee, and the Cherokee believed that we began in water and would return to water. In the book, “The Myths of the Cherokee,” the author, whom lived among the Cherokee, wrote that the Cherokee nation’s origin story was that the Cherokee conceived of the earth as a “great island floating in a sea of water, and suspended at each of the four cardinal points by a cord hanging down from the sky vault….When the world grows old and worn out, the people will die and the cords will break and let the earth sink down into the ocean, and all will be water again. “

We begin in water and we return to water.

I have followed the corridor of the Tennessee River, my whole life. Back and forth, back and forth. The stories within those mountains and the river are mine, my parents, my grandparents, and great grandparents- waiting to spill out onto dry land for me to find. Treasures. They permeate my spirit and I let them. I welcome their spirits and speak to them as I drive. I let the wind sing me a song. I let the air fill my lungs, as I try to adjust my eyes and see the landscapes as they once saw it. I live in two worlds. Theirs and mine. When my life becomes overwhelming or I can’t seem to find my true north, I get in my car and drive to the mountains for the day. Getting away from everything and just be. It shocks my heart back to life and my priorities quickly come back into focus. I listen with my heart and see the untouched vastness of the wild. I tell my kids all the time, “You know, Tennessee was once considered the wild west.” In unison they moan out that I have already told them this a hundred times… good! I have officially made it to adulthood, by way of repeating old stories, I have achieved greatness! (even though I still feel like a child, a girl just now learning herself) I know one day it will click for them and they will smile with fondness.


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