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The Literary Corner: Renegade Writer’s Guild

Eagles Amongst Us

By N.R. Tucker

Feb. 5, 2021 was a temperate day. Wearing a light-weight jacket, I took MJ, our lab, out for a stroll. I planned to walk at least three miles in the neighborhood. We turned right at the first road to pass between two ponds. The heron, geese, and ducks were out in force posing in the water. Off in the distance, something caught my eye. Sitting on a branch overlooking the larger of the two ponds, a massive bird of prey searched for a meal. I could make out a head of white. Could it be a Bald Eagle? And me without my camera. I take my camera gear to Tanglewood, searching for birds, butterflies, mushrooms, flowers, and other noteworthy sights. Still, I don’t wear full camera gear walking the dog in the neighborhood.

I backtracked, which confused MJ, who had already sniffed that part of the road. We walked to the end of our street and turned right which brought us to the other side of the pond, closer to the bird. There he was. Perched on a redbud tree, a live emblem of our nation looked over the water, perhaps in search of a meal. I took a few quick pictures with my cell phone. Though I wanted to return home and grab the camera and my telephoto lens, I wasn’t willing to deny MJ her exercise. We walked, dare I say jogged, around the pond with my eyes focused on the eagle. The trees opened up every so often, and I could verify he was still there. Just over a mile later, I dropped MJ off at home. We may not have gone three miles, but we did move fast, and she plopped down in the sunroom to watch the backyard. I grabbed the telephoto and ran back to the pond, hoping the eagle stayed put a little longer.

Some days you get lucky. I got some decent pictures of a majestic Bald Eagle in my neighborhood. The images are not the best I’ve ever taken, but I treasure them as I’ve rarely seen a Bald Eagle since moving to North Carolina from Colorado.

The Linville Family

By Linda H. Barnette

Early in the 17th century many families left Sussex, England and settled in the Quaker colony founded by William Penn (now Pennsylvania.) One of these early Quakers was John Linville, who came to what is now Chester County.  Around this same time, Squire Boone moved into Lancaster, another Quaker community. Eventually these two families became close friends and are still often thought of together.

Ann Linville, John’s wife, had 6 children, the first one, John, being born in 1710. In his early years he learned to shoot a gun, track game, and other skills that he became famous for.

John, along with the Boone and Bryan men, were responsible to a large degree with making the Great Wagon Road passable, no easy task. All 455 miles of the road ran south of Pennsylvania into Virginia, then to North Carolina, and later all the way to what is now Augusta, Georgia. Before then, however, it met the Wilderness Road of Kentucky. All 3 families who have been mentioned came first to the Shenandoah Valley where William Linville joined the militia. These men were known as “long” hunters, men who left their homes and disappeared for long periods of time.  Although they made their living from trapping and selling animal pelts, they also of necessity learned a great deal about the terrain and the native peoples.

By the 1740s, the Linvilles, Bryans, and George Forbush extended the road south and settled in the Yadkin River Valley. Linville built his cabin in what is now Tanglewood Park, and the Bryans and Forbushes stopped in what is now Yadkin County near the area of the “shallow ford.” The Boones soon followed their friends to this area.

The Linvilles, Boones, and Bryans had many family connections Rebecca Bryan, Ellender Linville’s niece and Morgan Bryan’s granddaughter, Rebecca, married Daniel Boone; George Boone married her daughter Nancy, and at least two of Daniel’s siblings married Bryans.  I have to keep telling myself that they really did not have many choices back in the day.

By the 1760s Linville was aging but wanted to go on one more long hunt and visit places he had never seen.  So he, his son John, and one other man, John Williams, traveled far into the Blue Ridge Mountains to a deep gorge named by the Indians “Land of the Cliffs.”  Unfortunately, the Linville father and son were both killed by the Indians and scalped.  Williams was wounded but not killed.  The area in which they were killed is now known as the Linville Gorge.

In many ways, we owe much to these early frontiersmen and hunters.

Hope for Eternity

By Stephanie Williams Dean

The great English poet, Alexander Pope, is known for one of his poems, “An Essay on Man.” The expression “hope springs eternal” is a line from his great epistle that suggests man’s hope is always present, and no matter what the circumstances – things will get better. The phrase of hope suggests that the nature of man is always springing forward with any possible cause for optimism – whether reasonable or not.

“Hope springs eternal in the human breast:

Man never is, but always to be blest:

The soul, uneasy and confin’d from home,

Rests and expatiates in a life to come.”

Christians understand that unless God’s in the picture, hope is nothing more than a secular nicety – hoping to maintain hope. This personal “feeling” of hopefulness is one that can be defined as unsteady, weak, and shaky – foundationally.  Dubious or doubtful hope is what I call a willy-nilly hope – one person might feel somewhat hopeful, yet hope’s lacking in another.

Here, we see how hope can often be nothing more than non-spiritual, dimming, or waning feelings that won’t be helpful in guiding us through treacherous waters. Wavering, personal feelings of hope are little more than our hanging on to a frayed rope when the going gets tough. This sounds a little iffy to me – and tentative at best.

But God on the other hand, offers us true hope through prayer in all situations – every day of our lives and throughout eternity. Jesus’ resurrection offers us a true, unwavering Biblical foundation of hope that we can truly believe in and count on. The foundation of hope rests on Biblically based scripture – God’s words – and is one that never wavers. Christians know that hope is never lost.

We can also be confident in hope, hopeful for all things, whether seen or unseen. “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see,” as read in Hebrews 11:1.

Romans 8-24 says “For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have?”

Christian hope endures. “When we put our faith in God, we know that hope will always endure. When we look to God, he will not lead us into despair but rather into a bright future full of hope.” Proverbs 23:18

True hope only comes from God – from trusting Him when our problems are too much to handle. When we trust in God, we obey His word. When we obey His word, we grow in self-discipline and obedience. Only through hope that the Holy Spirit pours into us, can we truly enjoy joy, peace, power, and love. These are gifts from the Spirit. Hope is a wonderful gift given to us from God, and we can be confident in this gift. Our soul needs not feel uneasy.

Romans 5:5 reads, “And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.”

But we haven’t just received the gift of hope for all our days on this earth. We’ve received the greatest gift of all – hope that we shall never die and have life everlasting.

1 Peter 1:3 says “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.”

Easter or Resurrection Day may be behind us on our calendars, but hope is always in front of us – it’s the light at the end of the tunnel, our beacon on a stormy sea – and  is ours every day no matter what the circumstances when we put our faith in God.

If you’re suffering today and feel as if you’ve lost all hope – boldly reach out and take Jesus’ hand – and know you’ve got a firm grasp and strong hold on His true gifts.

Be confident – because through Christ, hope always endures.