Fall to Winter in Appalachia

By Melissa Martin

Sipping my morning coffee, I observed the results of the windy day (Wednesday). Not seeing the wind, but noticing the results as the leaf’s jumped off the trees in response to the swirling vibrations.

My favorite seasons are Spring and Summer, but after adjustment to changes in sunshine and greenery, my soul adapts to being indoors. And oh, how windows are appreciated. But cinnamon tea, peppermint tea, granny’s quilt, and time for reading, revisit like old high school friends at a reunion.

Grandma memories popped into my brain—because of her devotion to nature. She loved her piece of Ohio land as if it was her child. Soil was her playground. And the harvest produced her treasures. She hailed from a hollow deep in the Kentucky hills.

My thoughts turned to Jesse Stuart and his deep connection to nature. So, I revisited his poetry. The following in an excerpt from “Kentucky is my Land.” www.lexingtonhistory.wordpress.com.

These things are my Kentucky.

They went into the brain, body, flesh, and blood of me.

These things, Kentucky- flavored, grown in her dirt,

Helped build my body strong and shape my brain.

They laid foundations for my future thoughts.

They made me a part of Kentucky.

These are inescapable things,

Childhood to boyhood to manhood.

Even the drab hills of winter were filled with music.

The lonesome streams in the narrow-gauged valleys

Sang poetic songs without words.

And the leafless trees etched on gray winter skies

Were strong and substantial lines of poetry.

“Jesse Stuart (1906 – 1984) was one of America’s best-known and best-loved writers. In 1976, late in his writing career, the editors of Country Gentleman magazine boldly proclaimed Stuart “America’s Most Famous Chronicler of Rural Life.” At that time, nearing the end of a five-decade writing career, Stuart had published nearly sixty books, including biography, autobiography, essays, and juvenile works as well as poetry and fiction. These books have immortalized the Kentucky hill country that inspired his writing.” Visit the Jesse Stuart Foundation at www.jsfbookscom. The bookstore is located in Ashland, KY.

“In the old days the long winter months following Christmas and New Years in Appalachia were a time to catch up on: sewing, quilting, barn work, hardware repair, and planning for spring and planting time. Certainly folks still had work to do-feeding/caring for the animals, and making sure the wood supply would make it till spring made for a full time job-but the weather conditions forced the late winter months to also be a time of rest compared to the long work days of spring, summer, and fall,” writes Tipper at the Blind Pig & The Acorn website.

My goal for 2020 is to attend the annual Jesse Stuart Weekend at Greenbo Lake State Resort Park in Greenup County, Kentucky. And socialize with nature-lovers, poets, authors, and Appalachian folk.

However, I have no desire to bath naked in the woods, a modern-day healing method to health, or to hike the Appalachian Trail.

Come March of 2020, I’ll read Jesse’s other poem, “Farewell to Winter.”


By Melissa Martin

Melissa Martin, Ph.D., is an author, columnist, educator, and therapist. She lives in Scioto County.

She can be reached at [email protected]

Melissa Martin, Ph.D., is an author, columnist, educator, and therapist. She lives in Scioto County.

She can be reached at [email protected]