Mountain Rest‘s sole claim to fame is a post office and a zip code. It is situated in the middle of the Sumter National Forest, ranging in elevation from 1,700 to 3,500 feet, all of which sits on top of the “blue wall”, the Cherokee Indian name for the Blue Ridge Escarpment. Around here people just refer to the place as “the mountain”. It is an old, stable, well established community and all the virtues and vices of Southern Appalachian living are here, hunting, fishing , a strong faith – the shared love of God and Nature, and of course home spun sweet bluegrass music. There is a strong sense of freedom and independence and yet a tender interdependence that binds our community into a cohesive whole. Neighbor helps neighbor here, from fixing broken water wells, to clearing trees and laying up firewood, to cleaning up the remains of a burned home so a family can rebuild again.
My house is situated on the crest of a hill that overlooks the Blue Ridge Mountains. From here you will see Rabun Bald, the second highest peak in Georgia, looming large in the west although it’s over ten miles away. Between our family home and Rabun Bald lies the Chattooga River, one of the nation’s extraordinary wild and scenic rivers, famous for its trout fishing and whitewater rafting. It is quiet here, maybe too quiet for most people. During summer thunderstorms, the wind rises up the ridge and blows through the trees, often making it difficult to tell if it’s the wind or the rain. They sound so very much alike as they rustle the leaves of the immense forest that surrounds our home. In many ways, the silence of the forest is the loudest sound of all.