A Perspective from the Past

   At moments when there is nothing particularly import-
  ent in the air, I sometimes recall events that happened in
  earlier times. I like to share them, as they have enriched
  my experiences with nature. Some of them have deepen-
  ed my perception of the forces at work out there. One
  such, I recall while we had a cabin in the central Appala-
  chains during my pre-and-early teen years there.
     There were times in the tense, humid atmosphere of a
  summer afternoon, in the pervading quiet, that I suddenly
  felt what I would call a "pulse". There was, as yet, no
  sound. I would feel a tenseness as my senses were insta
  tly alert. The "pulse" was just a frequency below the first
  audible sound of a thunderstorm approaching from behind
  the 1,800 ft. ridge behind the cabin. Absorbed by the
  dense mixed hardwood forests of the remaining low ridge
  of these ancient mountains, these storms could make a
  stealthy approach, suddenly breaking in fury over the
  valley. The experience was enhanced by the pervading
  quiet of this bucolic setting. Just the three of us there.
  The region is characterized by a pattern of low, north-
  east, southwest trending ridges separated by broad vall-
  eys. The ridges are the remaining nubbins of, what was,
  according to geologists, a once high mountain range rival
  ing the Rockies, pushed up by continental collision and
  extending from northern Georgia into the mountains of
  Newfoundland and Laborador. The highest of these are in
  the Smokies of western North Carolina/eastern Tennesee
  and the White Mountains of New Hampshire. I think such
  early experiences were a preparation for later opportunit-
  ies that would lead me to some of the far parts of this
  continent and a general interest in its natural history. It
  has given me a perspective that, as a non-professional,
  has greatly enriched my life and appreciation for what is
  out there. These mountains and plains are a source of
  strength and help relax the mind. They represent a perma
  nance and stability. LIfe should be a continual learning