Thursday, February 16, 2012
What a magical trip to work it was, this midsummer morning. Dusk made the sky slightly pink and the mountains a pale blue. There was a light mist lying along the hollows and bottoms. Raindrops, still clinging to the tall grass and wildflowers, caught my high beams, and a little rabbit risked his skin, darting across the road. The old road is familiar to me ~ I've travelled it many and many a time. The curves of it are like an old familiar tune. I come to a stop at Old Summerour Road, where the pretty old cemetery quietly beckons ~ reminding me that we are mortal, in spite of the immortal beauty of the place. Next is the oasis, I call it, where an odd little island of trees looms lush and black against the morning sky. Then, one of my old familiar landmarks, a line of hanging gourds, home to martins and a gardening tradition dating back to the Moravians, or maybe even the Cherokee. I climb the hill, watching for deer, to a secret, lovely lake, still as a mirror, with the mist just discovering the morning sun. It creeps away as I step out of the car, keys jangling, my mind already turning to my morning cuppa...
from: Southern Muse Journal (my blog)
(Post of June 18, 2010)
The Valley So Low: Southern Mountain Stories is a collection of short stories by Manly Wade Wellman. It is classified as "sci-fi," and falls into the category of ghost and supernatural stories. This author is well-steeped in the folklore of many cultures, as are his protagonists. These protagonists are always contemporary sojourners in the ancient hills of Appalachia: a curious mixture of folklorist, anthropologist, scientist, poet, truthseeker, and hero. They come to research and bear witness. Where there is mystery, they investigate, often with the help of hill neighbor and kin. Where there is evil, they vanquish, usually in the name of the Lord. Evil, here, comes in many forms: ghost, witch, Satan, pagan tree-spirit; some ancient Grendel of the mountains, some would-be succubus; perhaps even an evil, ancient corruption that haunts the ground, reminiscent of the swamp thing of comic-book lore. Wellman's stories have the ring of truth, though of a truth that requires the reader to suspend disbelief and allow for evidence of things unseen. This is due to his story-telling method, which is traditional and straight-forward. He makes only rare use of the familiar suspense buildup to a plot twist at the end. "The Petey Car," "Along About Sundown," and "Rock, Rock" might appear in any Hitchcock collection. The other stories almost defy categorization, but they are powerful and strong. Wellman will appeal to readers of the "old-fashioned" ghost story, to people who like ballads, perhaps. His prose is deep and rich, his stories are strange. If you love them, you'll want more ~ and there are more. Wellman was a prolific writer. Many of the books are out of print and expensive to buy, but might pop up in libraries, especially Southern ones.