The rivers of the Southern Appalachians are beautiful beyond words, and when the reflected light of a winter sun bounces off an understory of last fall’s leaf litter unto a surface of churning water, magic happens, like Rumpelstiltskin spinning liquid straw into gold. The Tellico of Southeastern Tennessee’s Cherokee National Forest is such a river. It takes the drainings of the Unicoi Mountains and funnels them into an ancient narrow metamorphic sandstone gorge before delivering them to the greater flow of the mighty Little Tennessee. In its tumbling and rolling, when the light is right, the Tellico becomes braided sunshine. A focal length of 300mm narrowed my angle of view so that what was included was just the flow over a small underwater boulder and the white turbulence beyond. An aperture of f/16 provided sufficient depth-of-field, and a shutter speed of 1/15th second at ISO 100 gave a slightly lighter-than-medium overall exposure.