Bill Leslie's Carolina Conversations

Attacoa Autumn

Posted October 14, 2008

Name your favorite place to witness the splendor of autumn. Maybe it is simply in your backyard. Perhaps it was a trip to New England where you found the perfect combination of an azure sky and an explosion of reds, oranges and yellows in the woodlands. Many of you probably think of the North Carolina mountains in mid October as the epitome of autumn beauty. I know I do.

As your ponder the perfect place to observe autumn I would like to share with you another watercolor painting by  of my father. It is included in the book I authored called Blue Ridge Reunion. The painting originates from the rough and rugged terrain near Linville Gorge including Table Rock and Hawksbill Mountain. I hope many of you will join me Friday evening October 17th at Quail Ridge Books and Music in Raleigh when we officially release the book. I will be reading excerpts from the book, signing copies, unveiling a multi-media presentation and performing songs from my new CD which shares the name of the book.

Here is one of the autumn essays from Blue Ridge Reunion:

My father spoke of Table Rock with a sense of reverence just as the Cherokees did. The Native Americans called it “Attacoa.” Table Rock was their mystic altar for sacred ceremonies.

Senator Sam Ervin said Table Rock stood like a “sentinel standing guard over Morganton.” You could see the mountain outside our kitchen window. As a child I marveled at its unusual shape and dominance of the western skyline. My father painted Table Rock from every possible angle in every season. His favorite sketching spot was Wiseman’s View.

My father hailed this rock outcrop as “one of the great vistas in America.” He said it gives you “an eagle’s view of Linville Gorge,” one of the most rugged wilderness areas in America. Look to your right and you see Table Rock in all of its ancient glory. Look down and see the pristine Linville River carving its way through the granite gorge toward Morganton. Look to your left and see the unmistakable figure of Hawksbill Mountain. Wiseman’s View is also the best place to see the famous Brown Mountain Lights.

I recall pimento cheese picnics at Wiseman’s View. Sometimes the sandwiches were soggy. Sometimes the views were foggy. But no one seemed to care. We were in the mountains on sacred ground, and on a sunny day you could feast your eyes on a canyon of stunning beauty.

I recall a weekend scouting adventure beginning with a hike from Table Rock into the gorge. Morganton physician Dr. Bill Kirksey led a group of 20 scouts. Despite a close encounter with an ornery timber rattler and a few blisters we had a wonderful time. We camped along the Linville River and were awakened the next morning by the crisp autumn air and the smell of buttermilk pancakes bubbling up on campfire griddles.


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  • happy Oct 15, 2008

    There used to be a maple tree on the campus at Mars Hill College. At one point during the change of seasons it would be three distinct layers of colors. Green at the bottom, yellow in the middle and red at the top. Combine that against that gorgeous deeep blue cloudless sky, and I can honestly say that I've never seen a sight more beautiful. The last time I saw that tree was 1983 and it's still a vivid memory.

  • prmoose Oct 15, 2008

    Burke Buddy, My most memorable Table Rock / Linville Gorge story happened during a Boy Scout outing. We were all snug in our sleeping bags next to that pill box lookout tower. Suddenly the night exploded with fireworks and we were engulfed by Special Forces capturing that lookout tower. I don't know who was more surprised, us or them!

  • rp3292 Oct 15, 2008

    My wife, son and I had the pleasure of going to the mountains this past weekend. We got on the Blue Ridge Parkway at Fancy Gap and drove south on Saturday to Asheville and Sunday drove south from Asheville to Waynesville. I truely believe they were more beautiful than I have ever remember seeing them. Especially the stretch from Asheville to Waynesville were the mosst colorful.

  • Drifter Oct 14, 2008

    I'm about to leave for a camping trip to Nantahala! I'll bring back pics! :D

  • wdwbmw Oct 14, 2008

    The most beautiful fall scene I ever saw was when I was a student at Appalachian quite a few years ago. The colors were at their peak on the mountains and on this particular morning there was frost on the trees. As the sun shone on the scene, it looked as if God had painted the mountains with diamonds

  • Riverracer8 Oct 14, 2008

    Bill, the paintings are beautiful. What a treasure for you and your family. I think I'm going to have to head west very soon - I need to see the leaves.

  • Legswilson Oct 14, 2008

    Bill... another beautiful painting! Congratulations on the new book too. Anything is beautiful in fall. Yates Mill Pond is close by and never fails to impress. God is truly an amazing artist and fall is a splendid example of His work.

  • canes017 Oct 14, 2008

    Williamsburg, Virginia (Colonial Williamsburg to be specific) is absolutely amazing in the fall!

  • hpmcneill Oct 14, 2008

    Certainly talents of many kinds run in your family! A joy to the eye from your dad and to the ear from you!
    Rhonda McNeill

  • adairehsalt Oct 14, 2008

    I was born in Morganton and grew up with Table Rock over my shoulder. I took it for granted and now miss it so much! Thank you for sharing the paintings and your book!




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Bill Leslie