Confronting the elements

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The snow started yesterday and continues today. The impact has been widely felt in Watauga County.

Watauga County Schools closed yesterday. Appalachian State University canceled afternoon finals, a decision that institution does not take lightly. The town of Boone canceled the Christmas parade, which was to be held this morning.

Mountain roads, hilly, twisting and steep, are unforgiving in the snow. There are reports that there were multiple car accidents yesterday (thankfully, no serious injuries or fatalities).

I think of the the first European visitor to this region, Rev. August Gottlieb Spangenberg, who decided to explore the mountains of western North Carolina in December. After an arduous climb, he and his team found a beautiful meadow to pitch their tents.

Of course a storm blew up.

“We pitched our tent, but scarcely had we finished when such a fierce wind storm burst upon us, that we could scarcely protect ourselves against it. I can not remember that I have ever in Winter anywhere encountered so hard, or so cold a wind. The ground was soon covered with snow ankle deep—& the water froze for us aside the fire. Our people became thoroughly disheartened.

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The snow has halted the normal pace of life today. But as the snow continues fall, I am reminded of those early settlers who came with nothing, who had no shelter from the storms, and despite the challenges brought by the unforgiving mountains and the harsh winter weather, put down roots here and created a community in the mountains….

 

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