The sun rose on Hayesville today,
shimmied across the hunting grounds
of the Cherokee at Shooting Creek,
peeked over Chunky Gal Mountain,
traipsed to Tusquittee where
the water dogs laughed,
reflected in Fires Creek,
and woke the folks of Brasstown.
One light spreading rays on
the village of Hayesville founded
one hundred years ago between
the mountains and valleys
of Clay County, North Carolina.
A new land. Scots-Irish ancestors felled
chestnut trees, built log cabins, tilled the soil,
and reared their families in the new land.
Creeks gurgling into Hiawassee River.
Drawing water with buckets
for drinking, bathing, or washing.
The hands of pioneer women rough
as leather breeches gathering blackberries,
apples, peaches, and plums
in their flour sack aprons.
Hear: boats roaring on Lake Chatuge,
bicycles crunching gravel at Jack Rabbit Campground,
horses neighing in the pasture,
or fans cheering the Yellow Jacket football team.
Hear: a pastor preaching the gospel
in a country church, the choir singing “Amazing Grace.”
A new day. Hayesville observing
her 100th birthday. Hope for the future
built on the success of our past,
the values of our people
working together to preserve our town.
--Brenda Kay Ledford