1/16/08 I am rewriting this story as I was unhappy to see how many errors there were in it. I probably will change the story some as well.

This is more along the lines of the book, in that Margaret died a long time ago. But it should not be too different from the series and movies as well.

The sun began to slowly rise on the Great Smoky mountains, peeking over the layered mountains bathing them in golden light, The light caused a perfect cacophony of bird song as they rejoiced in the morning sun, the light slowly stretched across the mountains and into hollows till it reached the mission and streamed into the windows.

Christy awoke and savored the early morning air, she loved the sweet smell of the mountains in the early morning, there always was freshness and a hope that seemed to be infused in the air early in the morning.

She stretched and sighed in her comfortable bed, then as she fully awoke she could suddenly feel the call of the mountains, could feel the blood humming through her veins. She wanted to be out in the woods, to be surrounded by the majestic beauty of the mountains.

She jumped out of bed with a glad laugh.

Christy raced through getting dressed and putting up her hair. Finally after what seemed like an eternity to her impatient mind she was ready. Holding her shoes in her hands she tip toed, quietly descended the stairs so as not to awaken the occupants of the house.

She really wanted to be alone this particular morning. Once out on the porch she took a deep breath savoring the crisp morning air that was slightly tinged with the sent of pines, then started up the path that would eventually lead her to a path favored by Fairlight and herself. She could not suppress a laugh of sheer gladness at being so alive and in such a beautiful location. Prince heard her laugh and responded with a shrill whinny of his own, no doubt hoping that she was on her way to feed him, she looked over her shoulder cautiously, hoping no one was awakened by his outburst. There was still no sound from the mission or the bunkhouse so Christy concluded that she was undiscovered. Not that there was anything wrong with her going out on a walk on a Saturday morning, but for some reason she needed to be alone to soak in the quietness and tranquility .

Once on the path Christy broke into a run, feeling the wind in her hair and the solid feel of the ground as her feet pounded on it. She loved the physical exertion and the feel of being up against the mountain as she pounded along the steep upward grade.

After a while she got winded and had to slow down to a walk, the birds were still singing. This was probably the most beautiful place on earth she reflected, there was so much natural beauty here, it times it was hard to reconcile the ugly side that shadowed the beauty so closely. That thought caused Christy to frown, but she quickly dismissed the thought from her mind, she did not want to think on all the problems this morning, this morning was all about beauty and peace, she would not let anything distract her from it.

After another ten minutes of walking she got to her Lookout as she called it, from it she could see the range of mountains opposite, looking for all the world like a dark green blanket that someone had carelessly thrown down, it had the same wrinkled and folded look . She gave a slight smile at how her mind had immediately drawn such a domestic conclusion, a year ago she would never have equated the beautiful mountains with Ruby Mae's laundry.

She turned and looked for a comfortable spot to sit; she had brought a book along and was planning to take full advantage of her time. She loved teaching, but lately she had felt so hemmed in by the daily routine, it seemed as if it never varied, and it seemed as if she always was giving just a little more of herself than she actually had .This solitude would be exactly what she needed to relax and unwind.

The sun rose up higher in the sky and Christy did not notice, it was breakfast time, but she did not stop reading, indeed it was almost lunch when she finished her book and closed it with a pleased smile of accomplishment. It was then she noticed how high the sun was and realized that the mission would be concerned about her whereabouts. With a slight sigh and frown she stood up and started down the trail, she was not in a hurry to return to all of the questions and continual needs that she knew were waiting. But what made it worse was she could not escape the dark sense of condemnation that pursued her for feeling as worn and thin as she did, it did not seem as if she had the right to feel tired when there was so much that needed to be done.

What had happened? She wondered, what had changed so much from when she first started working at the mission? When did she loose her enthusiasm and joy in her work?

This could not continue, it was her job to teach and reach out to the people of the cove, she needed to be a better person and not give in to her weariness, it was selfish, and if there was something she hated in others it was selfishness.

With this thought in mind she stiffened her back and quickened her pace, soon she was greeted by Fairlight hurrying up the trail toward her, "Oh, Miz Christy, we were all in a heap of worry for you, David set out a horseback, and Ruby Mae done gone to all of the cabins close by to ask after you! Where have you been so late? Are you all right Christy?" She looked at Christy with concern in her blue eyes.

"I am Fairlight, I just started to read a book and lost track of time that is all." Christy felt frustrated at the knowledge that there would be a great to-do when she arrived, it almost seemed now she had created more stress than she had escaped from. It was hard for her to be natural and not show her frustration to Fairlight. She turned to her and smiled,

"I am going back now, would you walk with me?"

"I thank you kindly Miz Christy, but all the same I must be gettin' on home to my younguns, they are probably hungry enough to chew wood right about now." Christy laughed at the accurate description of the Spencer children. Then she waved to Fairlight and went down the fork in the path that would take her to the mission.

Sure enough, when she got in sight there was a shriek from the red haired girl on the porch, "It's Miz Christy, She be home! She is here, Miss Alice!" Ruby Mae could probably be heard throughout the whole cove Christy reflected with weary amusement.

Miss Alice stepped out onto the porch, drying her hands on a dish towel, she watched with steady eyes as Christy approached, when she was in speaking distance she said quietly, "Lunch is almost on the table, if thee is hungry." Christy nodded silently and headed up the stairs to wash as Ruby Mae swarmed around her chattering about how worried everyone had been, and when David had left, and how she was just SURE that Christy had run into them murderers that had escaped into them there woods and Josiah said had been tracked to the very Cove itself.

The last bit about the convicts, was a shred of local gossip that was going around the school like a cold bug, It was confirmed David had ascertained, that two men convicted of moonshining did escape the custody of the marshals who were bringing them in, but it really did not seem to be as bad as the school children were elaborating it to be.

Christy slipped into her room escaping from Ruby Mae's chatter, then she washed up and straitened her hair.

She looked into the mirror critically, her appearance was now clean, the water had taken care of the dust and grime, but the dark circles under her eyes were not as easy to erase, she splashed water on them but still could not see an improvement.

"Oh well", she thought "she did what she could!"

With that thought she went down stairs