Monday, July 15, 2019

The Land of the Noon Day Sun

Happy Monday to you!  Yesterday's post was compiled of random bits about what I've been doing this summer.  I started off by writing that we had just returned from a few days in western North Carolina at Nantahala Lake, in the Great Smoky Mountains.  I forgot to mention that I learned while we were there (thanks to my sister-in-law) that Nantahala is a Cherokee word meaning "Land of the Noon Day Sun."  This name fits the region, as some parts are so wooded that the sun's rays only reach them when the sun is high in the sky at mid-day.
One reason the sun takes so long to penetrate through the mountain forests is this...  
the mist that hangs over the mountains every morning -- the same mists that gave the Smoky Mountains their name.  This picture was taken in 2014 at about 10:30 in the morning.  Earlier in the morning, the mist is usually even thicker.  Pictured here is Lake Santeetlah, which is surrounded by the Nantahala National Forest.  If you go into the forest a little ways, where you can't see power lines and are surrounded by tall trees, it's easy to imagine you might see an Indian brave walking silently through the woods.
When we visited the area this year, I had hoped to attend the outdoor drama, "Unto These Hills."  However, it didn't start until 8:00 p.m., and afterward, we'd have an hour or so drive back to the house in the dark on narrow, curvy roads.  I do hope we can see it sometime, though.  It's only performed during the summer months.
My paternal great-grandfather was part Cherokee Indian.  My great-grandmother was not Native American, but their six children (three girls and three boys) had much of the Cherokee look about them.  Almost all had black hair and darker complexions, some had light blue eyes, and all had the prominent cheekbones and high-bridged nose (including my paternal grandmother).  After my dad passed away, my mom brought me a picture of my great-grandfather, and I was able to load it onto our computer.
I was kind of shocked when I saw it, because I think he looks like he stepped out of a painting of a Native American (minus the plaid shirt, of course).  This was the little house we lived in until I was ten, and I think I must have been six or seven in this picture.  That was me on the right.  The only Cherokee feature I inherited from my great-grandfather is the black hair.  For some reason, this trip to the mountains made me think about my great-grandfather more than usual; maybe it's just because I'm getting older.  I've never mentioned this Cherokee heritage before, 
because -- well.  No angry e-mails please.
Seriously, the reason I never mention my great-grandfather is that I really don't even remember him.  He lived in Georgia, and we've always lived in North Carolina.  I know we visited a lot when I was growing up, but he must have passed away when I was still pretty young.  The thing I feel like I remember about him is that he often sat on the front porch of their house, and he was very quiet.  I feel like the fact that he was part Cherokee didn't have an effect on my life overall, and not so much on my dad's either.  I believe my dad was very close to his grandmother Grace, but not really to his grandfather.  I just think it's very interesting to learn about our family tree.  Do you like learning about your ancestors?
I hope you're having a good summer and managing to stay cool in this heat.  Thank you for stopping by, and have a wonderful week!      

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