Across the Blue Ridge Mountains stretches a world both charming and complicated.
Jeremy Jones and his wife move into a small house above the creek where his family had settled 200 years prior. He takes a job alongside his former teachers in the local elementary school and sets out on a search to understand how this ancient land has shaped its people—how it shaped him. His search sends him burrowing in the past—hunting buried treasure and POW camps, unearthing Civil War graves and family feuds, exploring gated communities and tourist traps, encountering changed accents and immigrant populations, tracing Wal-Mart's sidewalks and carved-out mountains—and pondering the future. He meshes narrative and myth, geology and genealogy, fiddle tunes and local color about the briskly changing and oft-stigmatized world of his native southern Appalachians.
Somehow, these journeys continually lead him back to the mystical Bearwallow Mountain, a peak suddenly in flux.