In the summer of 1956, when I woke up in Japan with Mount Fuji looming above me I was a long way from my childhood sanctuary in Big Ridge, Alabama, where I had been sheltered during my formative …
In the summer of 1956, when I woke up in Japan with Mount Fuji looming above me I was a long way from my childhood sanctuary in Big Ridge, Alabama, where I had been sheltered during my formative years. I had been camping at the foot of the mountain for two days but the clouds had completely concealed it so that it was not visible, even at its base. The camping was enjoyable, but it was difficult to accept that the mountain that is a symbol of Japan loomed above us, but was invisible because it was shrouded with clouds. On the third day, the clouds lifted and it was as though a new world had been created with a magnificent mountain formed to tower above us. Much later on my life’s journey, the same scenario occurred on a trip to view and backpack the foothills of Mt. Denali in Alaska. We camped at Wonder Lake for two days before the clouds lifted and Denali became visible. This made me give thought again to my young world. After the clouds have lifted I see an entirely different world which has now expanded to the extent that now there seems to be no borders.
When I return to the site of the small domain in which I was reared, I hardly recognize it. The old house was torn, or fell, down years ago after years of neglect and desertion. The well is capped and the fields where we grew food for the table are now pastures. The pine trees we planted for 4H projects were cut and made into paper many years ago. Fruit tree have stopped bearing and died sometimes in the past, but the old black walnut and pecan trees that we planted have matured and still produce nuts. In the years following my exit from this primitive world to venture into Arkansas, where I started my life’s education in the world outside of high school, I have explored more of this planet than I have ever thought possible.
When I first started traveling, I was too poor to buy a camera and film but eventually found a bargain in one when I was in Japan, which I purchased. It did not take long, however, for me to realize that it is a cardinal sin to attempt to bore someone by showing travel pictures, so photography has never been one of my strong suits. Please forgive me if I yield to temptations and bore you by naming some of this big new world which I have been able to visit. If you want pictures, you will either need to find someone else who was there with a camera, or go see the places for yourself. From the early home place to the present, my world has grown to include all fifty states on which I have walked, much of Canada, from the east to the west, a brief excursion into Mexico, and the majority of European and many Asian nations. I have traveled into the Scandinavian country, reaching above the Arctic Circle in Norway. I have made a couple of trips to England and toured the Scottish Highlands. I have been engaged in medical mission work in Brazil and Romania where I have made numerous trips. I have visited the Holy Lands on three different occasions and followed Paul’s footsteps in Rome, Athens, Corinth, Ephesus, Crete Rhodes and islands in the Mediterranean. I have been shown possible rock shelters on the Island of Patmos where John possibly wrote the book of Revelation. On two trips to northern Russia, near the Arctic Circle, I have taught in a Bible School. The Ukraine is another country where I have taught in a Bible school. In Romania, I have toured the castle in Transavania that inspired the story of Frankenstein and slept in Hotel Transavania. A seven day trip up the Nile in Egypt and visiting the Valley of the Kings, the ruins of an ancient empire, the museums in Cairo, and the Great Pyramids was an unforgettable experience. I have explored more of the major cities than I could mention, and traveled on rivers such as the Nile, Rhine and Danube. Three different times I have backpacked to the bottom of the Grand Canyon from both the North and South rims and rafted the Colorado River twice, one a three day float. Havasu Falls was interesting to see. Multiple times I have backpacked the majority or the western and southern national parks including all of the five in Washington State and the five in Utah, all at least twice and the ones around Moab even more.
I have just proved my point as to how fast this can get boring. Suffice it to say that there is a big world out there, and I have been blessed to have been able to enjoy many of the cities and structures built by man, and much of God’s handiwork which he has created throughout the earth.
I even married a foreigner from Melrose Park Illinois.
My excursions down memory lane and across time have helped to enrich my life’s journey. For many years I have searched for the perfect home place, and now realize that my ancestors found it before I did. Walker County is still home!
Wheeler Pounds is a local author who has written three books, "The Cherokee Hideaway," "The Cellar Vault: Secrets of the Cherokee Hideaway," and "The Spy Sanctuary: Secrets of the Cherokee Vault," with a fourth book "Up Fools Hill, Down Memory Lane, Across Time, in the works. The first three books are currently available online at Amazon.com. Pounds can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by mail at 3424 Kings Mill Rd., Oakman, AL 35579.