Keep close to nature’s heart... and break clear away, once in awhile, and climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods. Wash your spirit clean.

- John Muir

Within the mountains and ravines, along the trails and streams, explore and experience the beauty and serenity of Appalachia with an open heart and open mind.  Put a pack on your back and get walking.  Let solitude and contemplation be your companions and curiosity your guide.  See it for what it is and  find yourself along the way.

In a world where the measure of wilderness tends to be along the lines of High, Remote, Exotic, Broad, Big and Bigger the Appalachian mountains stand at first blush in stark contrast.  They're not remote.  In fact they're integrated into the most populous regions of the country and rarely more than a short drive away.   Neither do they appear big, broad or exotic.  They seem, in a way, familiar and unremarkable; ordinary really.  Nothing could be further from the truth.


As with the South, Appalachia as a region seems to garner more than its fair share of truly unwarranted negative press and unkind stereotypes.  Ignorance, arrogance and an ever more perverted media complex are largely to blame.


The Appalachian Mountains are old;  really old.  Really old in geological terms and old in a global context.  In comparison to their western cousins, the Appalachians are ancient.  We are talking about some of the oldest mountains in the world!  They are dense, mysterious and nearly impossible to get into perspective.  They are anything but a big rock or canyon in a desert landscape or a looming craggy snow capped peak dancing in the clouds.  You have to get deep down inside of the Appalachians to even begin to build an appreciation for them.  You have to commune with them.  Once you do your conception of what wilderness is will be completely redefined.  You will find yourself traveling deeper and deeper into their mysteries and they will become larger and more complex with each step.  At the same time, if you don't slow down they can border on the elusive.

To Praise and Celebrate...


The idea of an inspired song or poem crafted with the intention to praise and celebrate lines up well with my feelings about the photographic arts and the creation of a photograph.  It also lines up quite well with my passion and love for the wilderness, the South and Appalachia.


For all of those who spend time in the wilderness and take the time to contemplate and consider it you know that it can be profoundly inspirational and the number of personal experiences and impressions can be many.  From sitting on an overlook listening and observing or meandering deep within a forested ravine to traipsing across a ridge line a sense of connection can deepen and remarkable impressions are made.  The same holds true with taking the time to explore and experience mankind both present and past across the region.  In every way, if you'll allow, you can deepen your spiritual connection with your world and continue to discover and center yourself as an individual.


This Hymnal reflects my on-going dialogue with all aspects of the region referred to as Appalachia.  It is my celebration and my art inspired through exploration and experience.


A Reconciliation of Spirit and Matter


Some say that they go camping, hunting or hiking to "get away from it all."  Well, I'd say that it's quite the opposite.  Our modern lives disconnect us from IT ALL.  Time in the wilderness reconnects us with IT ALL.


This hymnal represents my on-going personal contemplation and celebration of the wonders of the wilderness.



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