A Photographic Journey of Life on Pine Mountain

Updated on April 2, 2020
alahiker28 profile image

Ms. Carroll is an amateur photographer who also enjoys freelance writing.

The Miracle of Life

Livestock is a way of life on Pine Mountain. There is lazy acre-after-acre devoted to cattle on all four corners and everywhere in between. In addition to cows of all colors, the Mountain has boasted llamas, ostrich, longhorns, goats, pigs, and horses. While the motorcycle riders love to wind along the mountain roads, I've often wondered if they can see past the view. In the quiet stillness and simplicity of nature, far from the reach of the noise of transportation, politics and pandemics, Mother Earth patiently awaits for all of us to simply find our way home.

I have lived on Pine Mountain for 15 years. In that time, I've seen a hundred calves, but only witnessed one live birth. To describe birth as a miracle sells it short if we still take life for granted. Life is FAR MORE than a miracle. It is an act of strength and bravery - an expecting mother has no recourse. The gestation period for a cow is the same as a human. When herds are left to themselves and something goes wrong, well, it just goes wrong. If all goes right, the calf comes into this world head and feet first and will be standing on it's own in minutes.

This mother separated herself from the herd along a fence line in the shade while another cow stood watch. Then she gave birth without incident while the water welling up in my eyes gave way to tears. I couldn't see her pain anymore and I was sure she couldn't feel it. That's the miracle of birth.

I haven't eaten beef since that day without thanking the animal for sacrificing it's life for me and still try not to. Thankfully, I've never seen a fish give birth!

Sometimes you get lucky and Mother Nature will share a secret with you. On this day, this baby male, which we named Bucky, licked the salt from our calves. Sunshine is free but sometimes too hot. Blue skies are free but sometimes littered with contrails. Grass is free but sometimes not right for barefooting. Holding a baby deer in your arms, priceless. (NOTE: Not to worry, Bucky is living comfortably on 100 acres and was only bottle fed until he could take care of himself in the wild.)

The Miracle of Snow

Pine Mountain exudes the simply bounty of hills and sky. There are abandoned silos and two story houses, but no tall buildings to leap over or boast. I have watched as the seven mountain ranges behind my home have changed oe'r the years. Entire tree lines have vanished. Highways have been cut through leaving stark empty rectangles through a mountainside. Cell towers now dot every range like dominos. There are flight patterns that drizzle the sky with contrails like it was a bowl of blue ice cream. As cities in the distance grow, so does light pollution.

Still I am lucky.

My spot on the mountain is touched by the hand of God and from there, you can still see the Milky Way, hear the call of pack coyotes and whippoorwills, and taste the blackberries straight from the bush without fear of pesticides. I've seen a bald eagle fly across this very stretch of land, just above the fence line, without once flapping its wing. Despite the changing world around me, here, in this place, I can stand still in time and wish for nothing more.

Snow used to be common on Pine Mountain -- two or three good snows a year. I've even seen it over a foot deep and wild rabbits bounce gracefully through it like it was cotton.

The last two winters haven't shown us a single flake and I fear a changing climate may forever take that from me. But I still have a still life photograph to remind me of just how special snow is when it's not littered with buildings, metal objects, automobiles, and the like.

Snow is synonymous with everything we wished we could be.

A Picture Paints a Thousand Thoughts You Cannot Put Into Words
A Picture Paints a Thousand Thoughts You Cannot Put Into Words

The Miracle of Majesty

Winter, spring, summer or fall, a mountain does not disappoint in revealing her majesty, especially Pine Mountain.
Winter, spring, summer or fall, a mountain does not disappoint in revealing her majesty, especially Pine Mountain.
Hay Baling Day
Hay Baling Day

The hay field is an essential element, just as if it were fire, water or air. Cows must be fed in the winter. In the heat of the summer, hay balers will bale hay by night rather than day. If you're lucky enough, like me, to live adjacent to a hay field, then you can see the lights of the machines dancing in the tree tops and across the sky or your bedroom ceiling. It's better than any fireworks display on July 4 and it leaves you just as proud and humbled to be an American without the risk of burning someone's haybarn down.

The Miracle of Rainbows and Butterflies

Where Rainbows Never End
Where Rainbows Never End

In the field behind my home, you can see the entirety of a rainbow. I've seen full rainbows there at least three times. But to see the entirety of double rainbows had my eyes watering again. It's as though God's perfect pen drew two perfect lines in the sky -- one for me and one for Himself.

Years after this photo, my mother passed on. On my way home from her bedside where I had spent weeks, I saw five rainbows along the highway and that was just the beginning. There is no rainbow's end unless you're looking for gold. Otherwise, rainbows are only beginnings.

Pine Mountain is a migratory pattern for many species of butterflies and birds. Just as important, it is home to many bees. In my own backyard, the sounds of a thundering beehive in the distance still puzzles me each year. I am yet to find it (which may be a good thing). Riding my bike one day, I traveled along ground as thousands of hawks migrated across the mountain in the sky. That was one of the most exhilarating experiences I’ve ever had (but not because I was on a mountain bike).

I am reminded of the song that "life is not always rainbows and butterflies; it's compromise that moves us along." But what a glorious day it is when we can have all three.

The Miracle of Hope

The hay field is busy making daffodils and dandelions when it's not busy making hay. "Make a wish," we say, and then blow! It reminds me of a favorite childhood book called Dandelion. There the dandelion was a horse, but nonetheless, the Creed of the Dandelion was the very same:

"Picture in your mind - all that you may be
And with a little time - you will come to see;
That in the game of life - your dreams will come alive
By thinking of the end result - as if it had arrived."

We should never give up hope. I have at times and it wasn't worth the anguish. There is far more beauty than pain in hope, if even you must go it alone. I learned the key is knowing when to let go of false hope. You can't hold real hope and false hope in your heart at the same time.

The Star
The Star

Every year at Christmas, "The Star" Lights up on the west side of the Mountain. It's an enormous feat of lights and can be seen from the neighboring mountains. It stands to remind us of another miracle, the most important miracle of all. We all need a star to guide our way and when we get there, let us not forget why we made the journey to begin with.

(me and my dog, Polly, standing above 'The Star')
(me and my dog, Polly, standing above 'The Star')

The Miracle of Peace

Peace Grows Where Peace Is
Peace Grows Where Peace Is

As if the natural miracles of Pine Mountain weren't enough for me, I created a peace garden in my backyard. Planted there are 13 varieties of fern, japonicas, a Lilly of the Valley, azaleas, and wild oak hydrangeas. There is no greater peace that a man can find that that which abounds in a garden. I learned the hard way that there is no peace without forgiveness and the person that needed forgiveness most, was myself.

As Dorothy Frances Gurney wrote,

The kiss of the sun for pardon,

The song of the birds for mirth,

One is nearer God's heart in a garden

Than anywhere else on earth."

I hope you enjoyed my photographic tour of miracles and I wish you all the peace that you can find, whether in the garden you planted in soil or the garden you've planted in your soul.

What's Your Favorite Miracle?

See results


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • alahiker28 profile imageAUTHOR

      Vicki Carroll 

      5 months ago from Greater Birmingham Area

      Thank you Virginia. Your words are an inspiration. I think that's the greatest gift God gives anyone. The ability to appreciate and inspire.

    • VNorth profile image

      Virginia North Skok 

      5 months ago from Beaufort S.C.

      Hope is sometimes all we have. Thank you for your feelings on this.

      Your outlook, love of Mother Nature and the miracle of birth that God gave us ....thank you.

    • VNorth profile image

      Virginia North Skok 

      5 months ago from Beaufort S.C.

      Your pictures are as pure Mother Nature as your words show a happy knowing soul.

      I only once saw 2 baby dear in a small little nest. We were in the Pocono Mountains. New life heals as well as builds....the miracle.

      What a great idea, a peace garden. You are an inspiration.

    • alahiker28 profile imageAUTHOR

      Vicki Carroll 

      5 months ago from Greater Birmingham Area

      Thank you maven101 and Liz. I appreciate your kind words and I am glad that you took a nugget from the post.

    • maven101 profile image


      5 months ago from Northern Arizona

      Beautifully written by someone that has experienced the eternal pleasures of nature and has learned by them...In particular, I was struck by your observation "I learned the hard way that there is no peace without forgiveness and the person that needed forgiveness most, was myself"...thank you for the wonderful photos, especially your garden of peace...Larry

    • Eurofile profile image

      Liz Westwood 

      5 months ago from UK

      This is a fascinating account of life on Pine Mountain. I have learnt a lot and really appreciate the good quality illustrations.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, letterpile.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://maven.io/company/pages/privacy

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)