Pondering, Photographing, and Writing about Wild Places

Chestnut Ridge – A New Beginning

Several years ago I met a fiddler at a pickin’ circle by the name of Bethany Baxter. Bethany was working on a masters project at the time that had her interviewing people about the American chestnut tree. The American chestnut dominated many forests and cultures throughout Appalachia until a fungal blight wiped the trees out in the first half of the twentieth century. After accepting Bethany’s invitation to help her with a few of her interviews, I was quickly hooked, and have been thinking about a story informed by those interviews ever since.
This summer I started putting my thoughts on paper. I don’t know exactly where it is going, but the more I work, the more excited I become. A couple weeks ago, I was asked to share a little bit of what I had at the River City Session Radio Show in Chattanooga. This rough piece is my vision, thus far, of the beginning of the story bearing the working title: Moonshine on Chestnut Ridge. I’d love for you to give it a listen, and let me know what you think. Thanks!

Jim Telling the Intro to Chestnut Ridge at The River City Sessions Radio Show in Chattanooga, TN August, 2014.

Photo below of Jim with an American chestnut tree in East Tennessee taken in the summer of 2012 by Amelia Harris during a chestnut census outing.

Jim with Chestnut

What do you think?