I grew up in the mountains of eastern, Kentucky. A small, coal mining town called Hazard was home to me from the time I was 7 years old until I got married and moved away. Even now, when I say, “I want to go home,” it is to those Appalachian mountains that I refer. I love the sea and all things related to oceans but my first love, the place that grounded me and shaped me, was a wood-sided home, on top of a 4,000 feet tall mountain, that belonged to my parents, Dean and Linda Crawford. There are so many things I love about the corner of the world I call home. Among the things I most treasure is that the mountains display the changing of the seasons like no other landscape can display. When snow-covered, the mountains appear majestic and pristine; clouds of smoke from coal-fired stoves and furnaces permeate the air signaling warmth and comfort. When fall colors blend to make a beautiful portrait, the mountains are breathtaking; the air crisp and cool in the evenings, perfect for porch swinging and visiting. When summer comes and the trees are full, the mountains appears as a sea of solid green; lakes are filled with boats and riverbanks with fishing poles. But, it is in the spring that the mountains most reveal the power of nature and the beauty of the Lord. When awakened from their winter slumber, the underbrush begins to come to life with faint, ever-so-light whispers of green. Soon, the dogwood and red bud trees sprout their blooms and dot the hills with just enough color to let us know that change is on the way. Days pass and gentle breezes blow through the trees as they adorn more and more leaves and buds until finally, cool shelter is ready to spread its arms against the coming summer heat. The swaying of the weeping willow trees is especially dear to my heart as they remind me of spring days spent planting the garden with my Ninnie and Papaw at Aunt Fannie’s house over on Willard. Rows and rows and more rows of potatoes. And the garden we planted at Otis and Florence’s house on top of Spencer’s Fork. Oh, and picking blackberries, but that was later in the summer and right now we are supposed to be talking about spring in the mountains.
Many years ago, I wrote a poem called, “The Place I Call Home.” I was 18 at the time and had just moved away from those mountains which beckoned me home every weekend that I had opportunity to go. I’m twenty-five years and three hundred miles away now, yet so many things in the spring remind me of the mountains…the chirp of birds welcoming their young into the nest, the songs of frogs in the evening hours, the red birds that glide freely and the woodpeckers that busy themselves all day providing music to my ears. The mountains remind me of God. In the busyness of our days, He is always there, waiting to be noticed, wanting to be enjoyed, and longing to be loved. Thank you, Lord, for the gift of nature. Giving us life was enough, giving us eternity was unimaginable and giving us nature and a beautiful earth to enjoy while we wait to join you is gracious.
Enjoy the Poem and Happy Spring from My Heart,
Renee (the beautiful photography on this page was taken by Michelle Delgado)
The Place I Call Home
If you’ll allow me please, I’ll reminisce,
About the place that so often I miss.
It’s the land I‘ve called home for many years,
Where memories bring joy and sometimes tears.
It’s in the heart of eastern Kentucky,
Where black coal mines are the main industry.
A town called Hazard, built among mountains,
Better known to most as Appalachians.
One spot stands out above all of the rest,
It’s where my parents chose to rear their nest.
A home that to me seemed fit for a king,
Where at any hour nature would sing.
For the robins, crickets, woodpeckers too,
Each performed their own role, our lives to soothe.
Life is the mountains is still known as free;
Nature breeds life miraculously.
For on this Mountain, the place I call home,
Stands the simple paradise where I come;
To feel a part of those who love me most.
Friends and family make up this great host.
This Mountain I call home will always be
Preserved and harbored by the memories,
Of days yet to come and the years gone by.
For this brief moment, the Mountain is mine.