At the most northwestern part of North Carolina atop Cat Face Mountain is a spot where a man can stand with one foot in North Carolina, the other one in Tennessee and pee directly into Virginia. Stances can be alternated, of course!
The climate and the altitude combine forces and in certain areas of the Blue Ridge mountain range prevents or naturally inhibits the growth of trees or forests on the crest of some individual mountain tops. The Cat Face is a natural oblong shaped bald according to my father. The Listening Rock on the southern slope of the Cat Face was right near the border line of the growth of trees as one makes a descent through the tall grasses of the bald. It overlooks a large and scenic valley toward the state of Tennessee called the Flatwoods. At this height, the rolling hills are hard to extinguish and the whole valley appears to be flat. I have never researched the accuracy of my father statement. Maybe I should since they are now growing firs, Christmas trees, on a large portion of the bald.
The Listening Rock and the immediate surrounding acres have always been strange and fascinating. Legend has it that the earlier settlers grazed large herds of cattle on the mountaintop from early spring until late in the fall. The cattle during hot weather or during violent storms would seek shelter in the forest and trees of the lower slopes. A number of the cattle would have bells around their necks. The settlers would stand upon the Listening Rock listening for the familiar and distinctive sound of his bells; thus being able to locate his cattle.
A relative purchased this boundary of grazing land in the late 1930’s. Later, after World War II was over he started herding sheep on a large portion of the property. Like the pioneers before him, he too, would stand atop the Listening Rock listening for the bells.
Sometimes, the bells were silent and on a number of these instances the cattle and sheep would respond to the voice of their caretaker!
When I was a child, during the years with heavy rains, all during the spring and summer months, pools of clear water would form in the low areas in the vicinity of the Listening Rock. These pools had no outlets whatsoever and was dependent upon the rise and fall of the water table. They always dried up in the wintertime and in some years did not make an appearance at all. The wonder of it all, was the small fish you could find in each and every pool. Over the years these pools disappeared entirely.
To sit beside these pools, catching the small minnow like fish with my hands, all the while wrapped up into the wonderment of what my Creator had in mind for me was the most fascinating time of my life. Precious memories!
I am now standing on the Listening Rock and I cannot hear the bells.
Somehow, I must make my voice heard!
|©2007 The Listening Rock|