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Camping On Summersville Lake (An amalgamation of memories)

The late summer sun turns the lake into a fire. In the distance I can hear the crickets chirping. A lonely bullfrog sings out in his booming bass voice as the night birds add a chorus of songs and the nightly concert begins. There’s the occasional splash of a fish leaping from the water to catch an insect that flew too close to the surface of the lake. The smell of the fire drifts in as kids roast their marshmallows on freshly cut poplar or birch twigs. I’ll ease back in my chair and take a sip of coffee. The flavor mixes well with the oak in the fire pit. As the sunset fades into the velvety sky the fire in the lake is replaced by silver. Throughout the campground the voices of the people begins to soften. Some campers are already asleep with expectations of being out on the water before the dawn. Scuba divers have told stories about catfish large enough to swallow a human being and each fisherman is convinced that they have the secret to hauling it in. Other campers are setting close to the red glow from the embers of the fire. They’re telling ghost stories about the civil war soldiers who once camped in that very same spot. As I finish my coffee I look out across the campground. Tents glow from the lanterns inside. They look like little hot air balloons preparing for take off. Silhouetted against outside of tents the shadows move on the inside as they turn in for the night. A few of them seem to merge as the lanterns go out one by one. I’m not sleepy. I pour the last of the coffee into my tumbler and stir the embers of my fire. The sparks rise into the air. As I watch the sparks rise and disappear I notice little greenish lights flickering in trees. The fireflies are putting on a light show if their own as the males signal for a mate to answer with the matching code. My tired eyes drift from the trees to the stars above. The coffee is gone and the fire is almost out. It’s time to take in one last breath of the night air as the dew falls. I crawl into my tent and sleep deeply. That’s camping on Summerville Lake.

Holding The Light

Would you believe that I built a spacecraft in my backyard and left the Earth to get this image? No? Of course not. What you see here is a happy accident. I like to take pictures of rain on my windshield. Last night I climbed into my truck and the water droplets were just right. I pulled out my phone and snapped the shutter. But, I had forgotten to turn off the flash. Each little droplet managed to catch the flash resulting in a photo of a sun surrounded by stars. (After some manipulation 😉)

The light of God shines out from his throne in heaven. When we catch his light and hold it we stand out from the darkness. We become a reflection of Him.

Blood, Sweat and Tears

History. The word actually says His story. In the age of automation history is short. 3D printers are set to replace the skilled hands of an old world craftsman. Artificial intelligence is ready to take over the jobs of lawyers, financial planners and even educators. Even doctors are at risk of being replaced by a bot. But even with all the miraculous technology of the near future there is something that cannot be provided by advanced robotics. History.

History is more than just a timeline of events. It’s the impartation of life’s energy. Let’s face the facts. Life as we know it is finite. When someone expends the blood, sweat and tears needed to create anything they are imparting their life.

The image above is the dashboard of a 1929 Ford pickup truck. The curved surfaces were designed by a human mind. The raw ore was mined by men who certainly expended sweat and blood in the mine. The steel plate was probably stamped out by hydraulic equipment operated by human hands and intelligence. Someone then did the final polishing and another person installed all the little gizmos inside.

Yes. This antique dashboard is more than just conveniently shaped chrome and steel embedded into wood. It’s a whole collection of lives and stories. It’s the human experience forged into something that is functional art.

No matter how sophisticated the automation software is. No matter how accurate the fabrication robots are. The one thing it can never impart during the process is life.

Your writing, your art, everything you do is an impartation of your life. That includes the time you take to visit my images and read my writing. Thank you dear followers for sharing your life with me. It’s a gift that is graciously received.

Image was taken at the West Virginia state Fairgrounds in Lewisburg West Virginia which is in Greenbriar County.

The Art Of Getting Lost

Feature image take on the shore of the Gauley River in Fayette County West Virginia.

I grew up watching reruns of Gilligan’s Island. In reality being shipwrecked would be a horrible experience no matter how pretty Ginger and Maryann are.

But the idea of being in a place where the outside world can’t find you can be appealing at times. The mountains of Appalachia are full of little trails with plenty of hidden spots where one can build a fort and find peace and quiet. I had two spots in the woods where I grew up. One on a cliff overhang and another in the valley below. A small wet weather stream was in the lower spot. Surrounded by small trees with a large rock on the edge. An opening in the canopy of trees would allow just the right amount sunlight to warm up the rock. It was perfect for a young boy to climb onto and stretch out like a lizard in the Sun. As the water ran by the rock we would make little boats out of leaves and race them downstream. In those days there was no cellphones to break the silence and end the adventure. You could have the whole world to yourself for just a little while.

Nobody wants to be lost in a forest unable to see the way home.

Image was taken in Kanawha County West Virginia on private land.

However, occasionally being able to remain “unfound” for a day can be nice.

Image above taken in Beartown State Park

The Unknown Destiny

We make plans for our lives based on our desires. When I was a young man I wanted to be fighter jet pilot. I read every book I could find on aircraft and when I was 12 I went to a summer camp at Patuxent River Naval Air test station where I got to eat lunch with the Blue Angels. I was allowed to set in the cockpit of an F-18 a full three days before the press got to see it. I knew that I was going to be the next Chuck Yeager. But I was wrong. I didn’t realize which set of tracks I was on. God had other plans for my life.

I didn’t choose the image above at random. You see, there are three sets of tracks.

One set is my plans for myself.

Another set for my plans others made for my life.

And another set for God’s plans for my life.

All three sets look as though they go to same destination but along the way there will be slight deviations that change the destiny.

Now, some will say that God robbed me of my desire to fly fighter jets. But remember, we don’t know exactly where that set of tracks ends. About the time that I would have achieved my goal America went to war. My vision for myself was to do high speed stunts for the air shows but for all I know I could have been shot down behind enemy lines. Or, I could have had stunt go wrong and crashed into a crowd.

I guess my point is that just because things don’t work out the way we imagined doesn’t mean our destiny was lost. I’ve been told that Albert Einstein said “God does not play dice with the universe.”. I agree. I believe that we have free choice but God knows what our choices will be and plans according to our choices to bring us to the place he wants us to be. I believe that along the way there will be multiple opportunities to switch tracks if we recognize them. And who knows? 50 ain’t so old. I still have a few adventures left in me. And, there’s miles of tracks ahead.

Appreciation for my angel on Valentine’s Day

Life was made for two.

Without you I would only have half of a life.

Without you the Sun wouldn’t be bright and the moon would hide her smile.

Thank you for being my angel

Dedicated to my wife Angela Dempsey please help me show her some love by visiting her author page on Amazon. 😍💞❤

DIGITAL DOODLES 1. The birth of a star.

Sometimes when the photography projects are slow I like to do what I call digital doodling. Basically, I take a photo of a cloud or something (the image above was fireworks). Sometimes it’s food coloring suspended in water and add some out of box effects. Then I warp and bend and change color until the original object is unrecognizable. I usually wind up with swirling patterns of color. The whole idea is really just a creative exercise. The set here turned out well enough to publish. I tend to follow the concept of blending opposites. The set here are themed around the Yin/Yang icon seen in martial arts schools in America. The balance of opposing energies like fire and ice is something that I’ve always been fascinated with. The series of images should imply that the energies are coming together in the creative process.

Everything starts with potential.

Energy is derived from opposite potentials that interact.

The potential energies begin to move closer to each other.

As the energies come together they began to swirl.

The pattern tightens up with the synergy created.

Finally, there’s an explosion and a new star is born.