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The Fayette Tribune, Oak Hill, W.Va.

FAYETTE COUNTY — Autumn living in Fayette County is like no other place in the world. I live at the bottom of the holler. You would be surprised at how many men, women, and children don’t know what a holler is. Some people are just not living life right. when I use that word to describe where we live, friends look at me like I was speaking Greek. Most every morning when I wake up and hit the floor running — OK, maybe I just do a very slow sleepy walk — I stick my head out of the back door. at this moment I experience the magic of the mountains. The air is cold and very crisp. I can smell the aroma of autumn mountain spices. when I breathe in, the air fills my lungs, with cold, crisp West Virginia air. my lungs are filled to the point where I believe they will burst. my head spins on some wild natural high. I can smell the dampness the woods send down the hill, from the fallen leaves and limbs the trees shed. Smoke from fireplaces and stoves drift and sends the smell of people keeping warm surrounding my being. this brings back memories of when I was a younger man, walking up Turkey Creek, heading for home. The creek sends melodies from the water, caressing each rock, tapping them so softly, as it cascades over them. The music fills the air and creates a calming effect. I can smell the coolness of the water. there is no sound except for the gobble of a turkey, some distance away. Insects are huddling in their nests waiting for spring. Honey bees in their hives are gathered in a ball, centering the queen to keep her warm. I am not bothered by the absence of the “state bird” of West Virginia: the gnat. A doe with two yearling fawns jump out of the bushes, startled by the noises I make enjoying the splendor. they hesitate just inside the tree line, looking back to see if someone or something is after them. I can see their wide excited eyes that seem to mirror what I am feeling, an excitement to all that is going on around me. Knowing they are safe, and come here often to eat, they somber off in a relaxed gait. A fat rabbit hops by looking for a sweeter patch of grass, or maybe a piece of apple my wife sets out for them. my house lies between two mountains that are reaching toward heaven, kissed by low lying clouds of blue mist. The rolling mist envelops everything and is sweet tasting to my senses. I am in awesome wonder and can’t believe that God allows me to live here. Fall colors are almost too hard to believe. I have heard that “seeing is believing,” but the colors are so brilliant they are almost blinding. It appears as if God just waved His hand across the landscape, laying down amazing pastel colors in every hue, like a renaissance painter painting his masterpiece. A camera can’t take pictures of what I see or feel. To me the picture is vivid. I see leaves raining down, leaving a plush blanket, covering the tree’s roots to keep them warm. The wind blows, making the trees shiver, sending more leaves to the ground, creating the nutrients the tree needs to survive. I am a simple man. my wife likes to call me a “romantic.” this is the name I prefer. I have been around the world, done things that many men wish they could, and logged more memories than I can count. The most precious memories that fill my life are the ones I have enjoyed in West Virginia. I relish those memories. I could while away the hours enjoying the beauty of the morning. I am sure you have heard that we “need to slow down and smell the roses.” That is what I decided to do. I challenge all of you readers to do just that. why not enjoy what is just outside your back door? It is here and it is free! have a great day! (Pack may be contacted by e-mail at rickypack@peoplepc.com.)

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The Fayette Tribune, Oak Hill, W.Va.

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