100 Views of High Peak

What is the nature of sacred?  It is a question that surfaced and gradually became the focus of a series of paintings, of which High Peak, Amherst County is a part.  As I worked to prepare an exhibit for Sweet Briar College that included several prints by Japanese artist, Katsushika Hokusai (1760-1849), I could understand the power and majesty of Mount Fuji in the lives of the Japanese people.  I wondered if I were to choose a sacred mountain, what would it be?  For the Monacan Indians, living near my home in Amherst County VA, the answer to that question is Bear Mountain.  There is obviously a story there that I have yet to learn.  But with no personal history or magical experience involving Bear Mountain, I had to nominate a different mountain, High Peak of Tobacco Row Mountain. As I began to look for it and for sites to paint from, the mountain seemed to appear everywhere.   I realized that it was a beacon for me.  I grew up in the West Virginia mountains and feel a certain comfort there.  When I first came to Amherst County, High Peak was my daily view.  The power line cut to the top acts as a sort of compass by which I gauge location.  Surely someone actually owns the mountain, but as a sacred mountain, it belongs to all of us; to bring comfort, to point the way home.

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