Life is all about balance. Mountains don’t exist without valleys. The Earth is never without a sky. Rivers dry up without clouds. Without gravity centripetal force would sling us into outer space. Why then should the ebb and flow of life not include the same pattern? At first, it might seem like a nice thought to always have things go our way. But soon the lack of a challenge to overcome would leave us without the joy of overcoming. In short, we wouldn’t grow and become physically, emotionally and intellectually weak. It’s a lot of work to go from the river in the valley to the mountaintop but when you stand on that rocky ledge overlooking the valley the view is enhanced by the thrill of winning the challenges. Of course you also have to pick your battles. The amazing view in tonight’s feature image was taken from a local bridge especially for you to enjoy while we ponder finding the balance together. Hopefully the lesson that we’ll learn is that if a storm, sunshine, mountains and valleys, Earth and sky can all exist in harmony together to create a fantastic view then perhaps all of the different ideas in today’s society can both maintain individuality and work in harmony to create a fantastic world.
I have very little trouble deciding on which image I want to feature in my posts. The challenge comes in when I try to relate what the image is saying. The railyard seen here is one that I pass by every day. As I look at the image I really like the way the setting sun highlights the rails. It’s like an invitation to come into the West and take the evening off. The rail cars have even cast off their burdens as the engine takes a deep breath and refuels. I believe that there truly is a time for every purpose under heaven and that includes a time to recharge.
Today is June 20th 2018. It’s a state holiday. Today is the 155th anniversary of West Virginia becoming a state of it’s own. The American Civil War was raging when Abraham Lincoln separated us from Virginia. We’re the only state in the union to be created from another one. The T.V. and internet if full of trivia and history about West Virginia.
Rather than cover what’s already covered so well by mainstream sources I want to talk about today. West Virginia is still a frontier. I’m not just talking about the “hills and hollers” that are seldom seen by human eyes. I’m talking about the unwritten future. Yesterday’s post about what it must be like to step outside time-space and actually be able to view all the past, present and future maybes was meant in part to help people see that the future is the product of our choices. On this day of remembering history and pride in our state I want to ask what June 20th 2026 will be like? How about June 20th 3018? As we look to our past and remember the greatness of our ancestors let’s not forget that the responsibility of future history is in our hands today. If we want our descendants to be proud Mountaineers we have to create that history today. Today’s challenges go by different names than our ancestors faced but the solutions are ultimately the same. Namely, innovation, self motivation and gumption. Our ancestors built a lifestyle that we are proud of because they didn’t wait for someone to do it for them and we’re not going to pass on that heritage by waiting for someone else to fix our economy or solve the drug problem or any other challenge of modern life. West Virginians are a culture of doers. In the past we lit up the world one lump of coal at a time and today we can do so much more if we’ll just put our hearts into it. The way I see it, West Virginia Day 3018 is looking pretty good.
Tonight I have a thought that I just can’t seem to suppress. A few days ago a meme came up on my Facebook feed. The meme asked what super power you would choose and one of the choices was time travel. I began to think about all the science fiction stories on t.v. and in books as well as movies and how they depicted time travel. Normally they accelerate the subject and the surrounding environment freezes. (Except for Dr. Who, he just vanishes with a psychedelic whirring noise. ) I have a slightly different concept. I think that time travel would require one to leave time-space completely and reenter at the destination point. It’s a concept that I came up with while working on a science fiction story. The complicated part would be that time isn’t really a specific quantity and destiny isn’t fixed. Our destiny is a result of our choices and our choices are influenced by our past experiences. Therefore, a time traveler who exited time-space would have to choose between infinite possible futures and perceive infinite past choices that were never made. The quote that applies is “Good decisions come from experience and experience comes from bad decisions.” (Which is attributed to so many people that I’m not sure who actually said it. ) The obvious temptation for our time traveler would be to go back and correct the mistakes of the past. But in doing so he would prevent the experience of future and therefore gain no wisdom. Of course being outside time-space he would have all of eternity to explore the possibilities without any effect on the present. Perhaps the lesson he would learn would be to leave well enough alone and let things happen naturally. He would learn how important his past mistakes were and why he must learn from them.
I have a confession to make. I’ve spent all day today wearing my “Monday Face”. It’s been one of those days where you want to be productive but it seems like the universe is flowing in the wrong direction. I once heard a survival instructor say that hiking in the Amazon was like being on a treadmill that’s raised to its highest level while people throw rocks, sticks and mud at your boots. I’m certain that he thought that up on a Monday. Its on days like this that I long to escape into the mountains for a little peace and quiet. It was on such a day that I found the Trillium pictured above. These are early spring flowers that start off as a deep maroon and fade to a pure white. It is as if the the flower mellows out over time. Just looking at the photo gives me sense of peace. I can almost smell the moss on the forest floor and feel the breeze. A quiet moment in nature is the perfect cure for “Monday Face” even if it was enjoyed digitally.
I remember wearing my dad’s work boots when I was a little kid. The tops his boots came to my knees. I clopped around the house carrying his big lunch box which I had filled with Little Debbie’s Snack Cakes telling people that I was going to work. I could barely stand up in dad’s boots. My dad taught me to work hard. He was a telephone lineman and I can remember times when the phone would ring in the middle of the night. A storm had brought down the lines on some windy ridge and dad would be called out with his partner to restore service. In the days before mobile phones a downed line could be a matter of life and death for people with health issues. As I began to grow I became obsessed with the day I would be as tall as dad. I would beg him to stand back to back with me so mom could compare our height. It was dad who first taught me hunt. I can still see him knelt down on the old logging road pointing out the difference between buck and doe tracks. As the years passed my dad imparted a lot of the attributes that make me who I am today. And, even though I’m several inches taller than he is I still can’t fill his shoes.
One of my favorite things about summertime is the blackberries. I have fond memories of finding a patch of ripe berries during long hike on a hot summer day. The wild blackberry is collected and brought home by the bucket load. June and July is cobbler season. Often a wonderful Sunday dinner is followed by the extra special treat warm cobbler topped with vanilla ice cream. The berry grows on a cane lined with thorns. I’ve created all sorts of contraptions in attempts to pick the berries but I seem to come home looking like I’ve been wrestling a wildcat. Sometimes the sweetness is worth the pain. A few years ago I found a patch that been mashed down in the center. I cautiously entered the patch. Something to remember when collecting blackberries is to keep your ears open for the velvet tailed glow worm. (An old-fashioned term for the Timber Rattlesnake). Satisfied that no venomous serpent was close by I began picking. I started at the top of the canes and worked my downward. I had about a half of a bucket when I suddenly realized why the berry patch had been mashed down. Do you know that old saying about what a bear does in the woods? You know, the cliche that sells toilet paper? Yeah, that one. Well, they seem to do it in the berry patch as well. In fact, as I looked around I saw that they do that a lot in the berry patch. At full alert now I finished filling my bucket before the bear came back for a second helping. Today I manage a small patch on the edge of my property. Bear free of course.