Appalachia.  A region misunderstood by all foreigners outside her borders.  Frequently mispronounced as App-uh-lay-sha, App-uh-latch-a is a mountain range that covers 13 states.  West Virginia is the only state completely inside Appalachia.

Appalachians are immensely talented.

We are artists.  We can paint, draw or photograph a beautiful picture.  We are world class when it comes to glass art.  We can design coal miner statues out of coal.  We ARE artists.

We are musicians.  We can pick a guitar, a bass, a mandolin, a banjo or a fiddle.  We can rock a piano or play a pair of spoons..  We are familiar with woodwinds, brass, and percussion.  We can write and sing songs that will make your laugh or tear at your heart strings.  We ARE musicians.

We are writers.  We can spin a yarn that will keep you intrigued for hours.  Our stories are real, experience, hopes, wishes, dreams, memories.  We ARE writers.

We are doctors.  We can heal the members of the community or we know all there is to know about biology, plants, chemistry, and other specialties.  We ARE doctors.

We are lawyers.  We can defend members of the community or prosecute crimes for our counties.  We are knowledgeable in the art of malpractice, class actions, drug crimes, robberies, and murder.  We ARE lawyers.

We are members of NASA.  We are meteorologists, engineers, mathematicians, rocket scientists.  We are professionals in the exploration of this unknown territory of space.  We ARE NASA.

We are coal miners.  We crawl in deep dark holes to mine coal to provide electricity and steel.  We can mine coal while surviving the revenge of the mountain with a hole in her side.  We can mine coal by reconstructing the mountain tops for retail and resettlements out of flood zones.  We ARE coal miners.

We are veterans and patriots.  We love our flag and our country.   We are ARMY, Marines, Navy, Coast Guard, Air Force, and National Guard.  We are loyal.  We are brave.  We have the longest running Veteran’s Day Parade in the United States.  We stand for the flag and the anthem.  We ARE veterans and patriots.

We are mountaineers.  We are hunters, fishermen, herbalists, and pathfinders.  We know our mountains, waters, plants and secret ways.  We ARE mountaineers.

We are all these and more.  We are more than one of these at once.

We are different.  Yet, that doesn’t make us less.

We ARE Appalachia (App-uh-latch-a).

This is ONE journal from only ONE artist, ONE writer, ONE musician, ONE patriot, ONE mountaineer, ONE Appalachian — all in ONE.

Clay’s Smokehouse, Oak Hill, Fayette County, WV

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