Photo by Abigail Ducote on Unsplash

The freshness of the morning sun coming up, dew rising. The warmth and beauty of the day, sunshine or rain. Southern Appalachians and their old mountain ways. 

The summer evenings, the smell of honeysuckle, the taste of blackberry pie, and the feel of a cool mountain breeze. Love that bonds the family, with roots 

that run deep. The wandering spirit in some, but before journey’s end will return, for Southern Appalachians home is where it all began. A deep respect and 

connection to the past, sassafras tea, and sweet southern charm. Precious memories, keepsakes, and stories passed from elders to descendants,

like pictures from the family albums found in the old dresser drawer. Our home, our childhood, special times, heartaches, the good times and the bad. The past

that traces for generations, that makes us who we are, Southern Appalachians. A painted sky, gradually the sun goes down in Southern Appalachia. The family 

gathers on the front porch, the day surrenders, the sky grows darker as we settle in for the night. As the moon and stars fill the heavens, the magical lights 

of the fireflies appear, and we listen to the sounds of the night in Southern Appalachia. Looking back with pleasure, remembering those evenings on the front porch 

and the sounds of the night, I value even more the simple life: what nature taught when the world was smaller and I thought time would go on forever. I reflect back 

to the peace of the moment with family past and present and it warms me with awe and deep respect of my Southern Appalachian roots.  

 
Disclaimer: The views in this article are those of the author. The Prison Journalism Project has verified the writer’s identity and basic facts such as the names of institutions mentioned. The work is lightly edited but has not been otherwise fact-checked.

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Robert Foley

Robert Foley is a writer, incarcerated in Kentucky. He grew up in a coal mining camp in the mountains of Eastern Kentucky. His mother was Cherokee and his father Irish. He spent his first 12 years with his Cherokee grandparents.