The View From The Top

The Great Smoky Mountains were in full color.  The air was crisp with a slight chill.  I loved the fall trips to the Smokies.  We always made a point of doing things together as a family.  One of my uncles came along for the trip this year and like the rest of our family he was raised on a tobacco farm and experienced being poor growing up as a child.

My uncle had done well in life, buying a lot of acres of forest land and started a timber company.  He may not have been wealthy yet but he was heading that way.  I had just started my career in Retail and I thought I would spend a little time picking his brain.  I had some good forward momentum going but I really looked up to him.  When I asked him what I needed to do he just sighed and became silent.

We were on a trail to the top of Chimney Rock.  It was a long walk and he was deep in thought.  I just tagged along and waited.  My uncles like to ponder a bit before they would answer you.  It could be a few moments or weeks.

The view from the top was exhilarating.  The whole family stood there quietly.  It seemed wrong to even speak.  This was something otherworldly, yet it was right there, right then.  It was something so powerful it took away our ability to speak.

My uncle took me aside and said “you see that this is the view from the top.  This is what you want.  While we are here now at the top of that valley a whole new world that you have never been to is waiting for you.  You can stay here at the top but know while it is an amazing view this is it.  You have arrived, but across that valley lay unlimited possibilities and new experiences.  Imagine a world of new and unknown experiences that are yours if you just leave the view from the top and walk across that valley.  Yes, my nephew across that valley hidden in this mist is yet another mountain with a view from the top.”

Point Of View

A few weeks ago I ran into a friend of mine who asked if we might have lunch and catch up.  He had worked hard all of his life and had all the benefits that success brings, several big houses across the country, an expensive car, and a Rolex.  It shocked me to see how burdened and unhappy he was.  He complained about everything and to be honest, I was relieved when the lunch was over.  It made me think about what success really means.  It made me remember this story about my uncle.

We spend a lifetime striving for all that we can get from life.  Often at the expense of missing all the meaningful things that life gives us as gifts.  How many times have we promised our self that we would get up early and watch a sunrise, sit out on a porch and listen to the rain or walk down a country road with someone you love with dogs in tow?  We never know how many tomorrows we have left.  Choose today to find those moments.


Larry Tyler
Larry Tyler
Awaken the possibilities … then unleash them. After 55 years of successful retail management, I have returned to my passion of writing. I write Poetry, Storytelling, and Short Stories. As a child, I grew up on front porch storytelling. I would sit and listen to my Dad and his brothers tell these great stories that were captivating, and I always wanted to hear more. I wanted to experience the things they talked about. I started writing at a young age and reading everything I could get my hands on. At twelve years old I started a storytelling group and several of my friends became writers or poets. At 16 I hopped box cars and worked the tobacco fields, orange groves, picked cotton, and spent many nights around a campfire listing to life stories. Someone once asked me why I wrote. It consumes an amazing amount of time and I assure you it is not going to make me rich. I write so that my children can touch and feel my words telling of the ones that came before us and the stories they told me. These are the chronicles of our family and even though they come from my childhood memories and are deeply rooted in a child’s remembrance at least they may feel what it was like in the time before them and cherish the things the elders left behind. I am a Columnist & Featured Contributor, BIZCATALYST360 and I have The Writers Café, a group on LinkedIn that features Poets, Writers, Artists, Photographers, and Musicians . On Facebook I have two groups and one page; Dirt Road Storytelling, From Abandoned To Rescue Dogs And Cats, and About Life, Love And Living. As writers, it is true that we honestly do not know what we hold within us until we unleash it. When our words inspire others only then will inspiration return to the writer. I will spend my twilight years in search of the next story, the next poem, and the next image. I will take the time to enjoy my Wife, our Dogs, and Cats, and our amazing new home and I will always find the time to walk down a dirt road I truly hope is that I never have to read another book on Leadership, be on a conference call or see another plan o gram as these were the tool for what I did in life and not about who I am.

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  1. The choice to keep moving rather than stagnate at the top. There is always more to see, to explore, to experience if we just go forward. Your Uncle gave you words of wisdom that most people never achieve. There are different roads to the top and a new view is found along with every one.

  2. Your stories always capture my imagination and transport me to the place you write about, which is the gift of a great story-teller.

    Your point of view is so true. In striving for material things, many people lose sight of the simple things that can bring happiness.

  3. The most frequent mistake is to pretend to “plan” happiness, as a goal, identifying it in a more or less near future, while what counts is the “here and now”. We can see ourselves in a future professional or personal, but as we try to reach it, every step taken towards that goal is worthwhile, because when we do it we are happy. Happiness is built and is found in the things that everyday life offers us and that may seem “normal”, almost “due”: a family, some friends, someone who takes us by the hand and supports us, the laughter of the children, the health , a dog that keeps us company and gives us unconditional love, our moments of privacy to dream, the warmth of the sun and the smell of the trees, read a good book or get excited with a good movie or a sunset, feeling free when we walk in nature, or we run in the rain … All this (and more), even if someone does not believe it, is happiness.
    We must learn, from an early age, to be humble and be happy with everything that surrounds us

  4. In everyday life, we know we must adapt our work to our private life and, therefore, reconcile family activities, personal development, pleasure, leisure and work, which represents our aspirations and our professional responsibilities. To do so, we must follow some criteria and set priorities based on our experience, our age, our family status, type of work, in our standard of living and our ambition. An objective analysis of all these points will allow us to reasonably balance family life and commitment to work and career.

  5. Larry, your article speaks volume as there are so many who miss out on the finer things of life just because they have not stepped to the mountain your uncle described. Oh, if only people to day could just stop and experience goodness from the heart.