Ode to the Sunchasers


Photo: Mason Boring

Written by Matt McWilliams

A season ends and a new one begins. A season full of change as week by week one flower blooms as another fades. A bud blossoms into a leaf and the forest floor turns to shade. The summer ends and the fall begins.

For a short time, this summer a group of people with different pasts from different places cross paths in the Southern Appalachians to walk amongst the wild forests of Joyce Kilmer Slickrock. A group of strangers meet in the early summer and venture into the deep shade of Joyce Kilmer’s giant trees, linked by a common goal, to chase the sun. They run from lightning and take shelter from the rain. They pour their blood and sweat into the soil clearing a pathway though the jungle searching, searching, searching. For what you say? In the depths of the woods, there is eternal shade. The only thing to seek is the glorious summer sun. A crew is formed, the “Sunchasers” are born in the scattered dawn light below the tulip and buckeye and sourwood and maple and oak too tall to see the tops of. As the trail forms and the sun sets on the horizon, the fall approaches and heroes must go, for other ventures are calling.

A group of people diverse as wild woods around them go their separate ways, they will always be linked for a time they shared a place and a dream. A dream to chase the ever-distant sun. They leave the woods stronger from enduring the Greenbriar that cuts deep, the creeks that flow fast, and the storms that hit hard. They are like the leaves of the forest; it is their time to be blown to distant ridges where the horizons may be more clear.

Where will the wind take them? How far shall they go?

It matters not for the bonds formed amongst them run as deep as the roots of those ancient trees.

So, comrades, compatriots, companions, and friends. Good luck and good fortune go forth and grow. Remember as you look to the horizon, remember the Sunchasers where you go.