Wild Ember Sparking!

While I usually separate my just-for-pleasure blog, Beauty Along the Road, from my business blog Emerald Mountain Sanctuary, I felt nudged to introduce my readers to the business side of things.  There might just be a few people out there who are looking for exactly what I am offering.

If you are working on a long-term project, you know the challenges of remaining committed, of facing the inevitable questions of purpose and worth, the need for continuous inspiration and ability to consistently dip into your creative process, and accountability.

In the past, I have had the honor to support writers, artists, and entrepreneurs in their projects – working on a memoir, creating an artistic portfolio, establishing a thriving business, and consciously developing a new lifestyle after a major disruptive life event.

Three years ago, I created a creative project coaching workshop (called Creative Spark then) and participants met at my house in the remote mountains of Virginia.  During the second year, COVID hit and we had to move partially online, and partially to porch meetings.  COVID was my nudge to place the entire workshop series online so that location no longer presents an obstacle.


I am thrilled to announce the 2021 Creative Project Coaching workshop, Wild Ember Sparking. This monthly workshop series runs from March through October 2021 and assists you in getting your creative project off the ground, with clarity and purpose, and then supports your ongoing project. Learn the techniques you need to dive deeper into your creative process and get the work done by setting realistic, achievable goals and being held accountable by an experienced coach.

If you are curious, please check out the details:  https://emeraldmountainsanctuary.com/creative-project-coaching/

Even if you don’t take the workshop, there’s a free pdf download with nature-inspired creativity exercises when you sign up for the newsletter.  These exercises are also being published this month by Psychology Today.  Click here for the first of two essays.

Enjoy and let me hear your feedback.


Posted in Artistic Inspiration | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

Where I am from

Where I am from

I am from the dark soil of vineyards
first seeded by Roman conquerors
and still yielding a famous Riesling
on the high slopes of the Rhine River.

I am from the dimmed hopes
of parents who rarely spoke of
war-time childhood wounds
but nursed them to the bitter end.

I am from Viking blood,
the early ones who left
known earth behind
to sail into the distant horizon.

I am from Africa’s
red savannah dust,
still searching for Grandfather’s face
among the strangers of the world.

I am risen from the burning stakes
of the Middle Ages,
quick to anger when dark forces
corral women and children.

I am a refugee from
the harsh religion of science;
I find shelter with plant spirits
and the un-nameable wisdom
of deep green trees.

Annette Naber

Posted in Ekphrastica (Photos & Poems), Healing Ourselves and the Planet | Tagged , , , , | 12 Comments

A Resilient and Creative New Year!

This gallery contains 10 photos.

Originally posted on The Beauty Along the Road:
I found my theme for the New Year:   Resilience and Creativity. Hurricane Matthew, on its path up the Atlantic coast back in October, must have swept this large tree branch onto this…

More Galleries | 7 Comments

What I saw today….

We spent our pandemic Thanksgiving doing what we enjoy:  going for a drive through the mountains, no masks needed, no social distancing necessary – just me and my husband coasting along the empty, narrow, and winding country roads.

We can always count on seeing some beautiful pastoral scenes so typical of the Allegheny Highlands of Virginia and West Virginia.

Cows graze in a field still green (a bit unusual for this time of year; global warming definitely a factor):

pastoral scene with grazing cowsLight and shadow variations as the sun played hide-and-seek with clouds:

light and shadows on hills

A herd of goats slowly advances up a hill searching for juicy grasses:

goats on a hill

Then we come across some quirky scenes reflecting the rural nature of the place, expressions of creativity and a certain make-do mindset.

What do you think about this piggy mailbox?  It comes with an opening at the pig’s rear-end….

piggy mailbox

Someone’s living quarters from a long time ago, now storage for useless trash:

old bus

The name of the lane leading into the property with the deserted bus:  Slim Pickings Boulevard:

The entry fence was a sculpture created from engine parts (cam shaft, crank shaft, gears – as identified by my husband):

fence from machine parts

And a creepy little gate guardian:

gate guardian

But the creepiest – and most sinister – find today was a large tree with dead animal carcasses hanging from it.  Someone must hate coyotes very much.

tree with dead coyotes hanging from it

It seems like we have to take the beauty with the weird and the ugly, side by side.

Life these days…

Life like it’s always been…

We came home to a crock pot steaming with chicken and sweet potatoes.

A simple day in the country.

Posted in Appalachia, Artistic Inspiration | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 21 Comments

The Hummingbird’s Gifts

What the hummingbird brings:

  • Delight when you first appear in late April.  You bring the promise of spring and lively movement and sounds on my porch.

Hummingbird resting

  • Oh, the sounds: chattering and chittering, when you announce your presence; hissing, whistling and screeching when you attack a competitor.
  • Oh, and the semi-circular dance you perform accompanied by a sound that has no name, when you try to impress Miss Hummingbird.
  • You move so fast, cutting through the air like a missile. Sometimes you hover around my head. Are you as curious about me as I am about you? Very, very rarely, I see you perched somewhere, for a few short moments.

Two females belly-bumping

  • When you attack the others with your dagger beak, sometimes stabbing them in their belly, I want to tell you that there’s enough for everyone.
  • I clean and refill the feeder for you and grow the flowers you like so much:  orange jewelweed, pink delphinium, lavender hosta, magenta phlox, and the red flag of canna lily.


  • I watch you extract the nectar, probing the deep throats of jewelweed and canna, never spending much time on any single bloom. How does it taste, the flowers’ offering of sweetness and nourishment, this nectar of life?

Hummingbird feeding on jewelweed

  • Your nests are tiny, the size of a walnut, I read. I keep looking for them, just to admire your nest-weaving skills.  Bird nests can tell you a lot about their maker’s sense of aesthetics, their diligence and perseverance.  Have you ever seen the dangling globe nest woven by an oriole vs. the coarse, thrown-together, almost-anything-will-do nest of a robin?  Or the mere suggestion of a nest, the little indentation in the ground a killdeer mama makes as a receptacle for her speckled eggs?   I adore intricacy and workmanship but I also respect practicality and minimalism.
  • You hummers come in such tiny packages and, yet, when the light hits the male just right, his throat feathers shimmer in the most astounding glowing red, then turn black with the mere turn of his head.
  • Such a small package and so much power – don’t you fly for DAYS across the Caribbean Sea without food, without rest? – and so much grace, elegance, and beauty.
  • You are majesty in that small package, no less a defining presence than the mighty bald eagle that lives around here as well.
  • You bring joy and hope when you arrive every year… and delight.

Wind chimes

  • You try to teach me about leave-takings and endings when you fly away in just a few short weeks, or even just a few days. Yet, I still feel sadness and melancholy and a sense of abandonment when you leave, the early dread of winter creeping in.


  • I wish you a safe journey South. Indulge all winter in the abundance of the rain forest. Travel for the many of us who would like to follow but have to abide by the restrictive and isolating rules of a pandemic.


  • And do remember you have a home here, next spring.

Posted in Animals and Critters, Appalachia | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments