I first heard James Still read this poem, “Heritage,” 20 years ago. In this video from the “United States of Poetry” series, you can see glimpses of Mr. Still walking the land around his cabin in Knott Co., Ky. The poem’s images, the longing it conveys, and the depiction of a life determined by the hills spoke to me in a way little had until my early teens. “Heritage” illuminated my own sense of calling to lead a life defined by my heritage as an Appalachian. The final line, “Being of these hills I cannot pass beyond,” still catches my breath the way it did the first time I heard it.