• Kathryn Solee


“Call it a clan, call it a network, call it a tribe, call it a family: Whatever you call it, whoever you are, you need one.” —Jane Howard

Fourth of July weekend is approaching, and it’s hot and humid. Meaning there will be a lot of people out enjoying our beautiful trails and waterfalls. Therefore the dogs and I are heading out before the rush to a couple of easy access waterfalls.


Our first stop is Looking Glass Waterfall, which is on US276 north of Brevard, North Carolina. There was only one other car in the parking area, and they were coming up the steps as we went down, so we had the area all to ourselves—a rare treat. I played in the water with Essie, and Zorro before we all settled to enjoy this beautiful place.


Moore Cove Waterfall is just a mile north of Looking Glass and only a ¾ mile hike up a gentle grade to the falls. I was a little surprised to see Rhodendron blooming.

We encountered a small obstacle on the trail.

One reason I like to take my time on a trail is what you can see. The fungi on this broken tree stump caught my eye. Then I saw the silk line of a spider, which took my eye to an adjacent trunk fragment, and there was the slug. Further down the trail, the ferns attached to the trees were blooming. It’s these little surprises of nature that bring me joy.

Even with the recent rains, this is still a simple 50-foot tall waterfall. The fun part is being able to walk behind the curtain of water and splashing in the shallow pools at the base. Again, our timing was perfect. We were the only ones at the waterfall.


As I sat on a convenient rock, tucked behind the falling water taking in the sun and magnificent soothing ions of waterfalls, the first family arrived. Mom, dad, baby, and dog. The baby was fearless. Just learning to walk, the little one showed determination to climb. Seeing this made me realize how many ways you can define family.

The family of my household is me, the dogs, and cats. As an only child, my immediate blood family is my just mother and me. With 17 aunts and uncles, my mother has oodles of cousins, but they are dying off. My generation of cousins have never been close. On my father’s side, I have six cousins, where I exchange email Christmas greetings with one.

Then there are our other families: friends, co-workers, members of our social or religious groups, and perhaps even our online community. Are some of these better defined as a clan, network, or tribe.

How do you define family?

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