Going Home

The passing dots count down like the ticks of clock marking the distance left until I am home. As my hands grip the wheel of the big blue truck my favorite music is pumping out of speakers and my one thought is of the moment that I pull into the driveway. The errands are ran and the chores are done. The little yellow dots on the road are ticking by a little faster now. I can’t contain my enthusiasm for the moment that I am in the one place where I want to be. Being out on an adventure is fun but eventually there’s nothing as pleasant as your favorite recliner. The final dot ticks away in my mirror as the driveway comes into view. The big blue truck glides into it’s spot and I wait for the last note of my play list to fade out before shutting off the motor. From the driveway I can hear my dog barking his greeting at the door. It’s good to be home.

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Tonight’s Feature Image is titled “The Road Home” and is available for purchase by using the Contact Form on mywebsite. (Note, I do not share or sale contact information.EVER)

4X6 is $5.00

5X7 is $10.00

8X10 is $15.00

Some cropping may be necessary for certain sizes.

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I’m also available for portraits by appointment. Use the Contact Form or message me on Facebook for details.

The Workday Ends

The end of the day arrives at last. As the last rays of natural light floods the Kanawha valley the day shift workers climb into their vehicles and head home. Along the way dinner is being prepared and sometimes the aroma wafts onto road. Children and pets rush out to greet the homecommers. The ties and work boots are abandoned with exuberance and those comfortable pants with the elastic band are picked up along with old tee shirt that feels like a welcoming hug. The say that the clothes make the man. If that’s true then taking your work clothes off is like taking off the person who you have to be and becoming who you are again. As I look at the feature image and see the parked train and the cars headed home it’s a great metaphor for the end of the workday and a little time for real life.

Hello Friends and thank you for your support of my page. If you have enjoyed the photos or the writings please let me know by commenting and sharing my work on your social media. Please also consider following Lloyds Lens Photography on Facebook. If you don’t want to miss a post then you can sign up for email alerts on my website at the bottom of the Welcome Page.

Tonight’s Feature Image is titled “Paused” and is available for purchase by contacting me on Facebook or by using the Contact Form on my website.

4X6- $5.00

5X7- $10.00

8X10- $15.00

I am also available for portraits by appointment by using the Contact Form or Facebook Messenger.

The Silent Road part 2 Or Dreamwalk

Leaving behind the chaotic façade which most think of as the real world I continue down the silent road. Small things dart around inside the tall grass looking for the lost echo of birds. A world without bird’s songs is a creation without a voice. The silver sky weeps as muted wind howls in vain. The grasses and trees began to sway gently as if dancing in time with a forgotten memory. What was the tune? It’s on the tip of my useless tongue. I have to find the answer. As I search in despair for the solution I see movement out of corner of my eye. The dark shape floats above my head and I recognize the outline of a raven. The black feathers are almost iridescent and it’s unnaturally large. In its beak it carries a scroll. It would shriek if shrieking existed. The scroll lands at my feet. I unroll the parchment and the raven circles awaiting my reaction to the mystery I hold. Scratched on the inside of the parchment were ancient symbols that spoke of lost magic and words “The road ends in silence but begins in music. Let one who knows the secrets be the voice.” I nodded to raven and he dipped a wing in reply. I would undertake his quest to where the road begins.
… to be continued.

Oh Deer! Where Did You Come From?!

Living close to nature means interesting neighbors. They are generally good natured and tend to keep to themselves. Oh sure there’s the occasional dispute over who owns the garden but for the most part they don’t bother anyone. Being the outgoing personality that I am, I decided to walk over and check on her after a long hard winter. However, she didn’t seem to be happy that I interrupted her breakfast. In fact, she looked downright stressed that I was there. “Hello, how’s it going?” I spoke in a nice soft tone. She refused to answer. Once more I tried to start a pleasant conversation. “I see you made it through the winter ok.” Can you believe that she just stomped her foot and snorted off? How rude was that? But in her defense I was there unannounced and she probably hadn’t had her morning coffee 😉

Making Your Mark

I stumbled across this cairn last year. I knew that people would stack up rocks as a way of marking that they had been there but I didn’t know that it was called a cairn. I had always thought that a cairn a Celtic tomb. It’s a much nicer way to leave you mark than tagging. I guess it’s human nature to want a marker to say “I have been here. ” I was at the end of the Kilroy fad. I never knew why we did it and the origin of the mark is… well, “lost to urban legend “. I just knew that he was a funny little guy with a big nose and he likes to peak over the walls. Below is a poorly scrawled example. ( There’s a reason why I do photography instead of drawing )

No matter if it’s a stack of rocks or a poorly scrawled cartoon we seem to want to be remembered. Even if it’s anonymous. We have an instinct to not be forgotten. I have also picked up a small stone from my land and made a mark on it to leave behind on a trail.

(One of my abstract marks . It’s a stylized representation of my initials)

I wouldn’t recommend defacing public or private property thought. But, if you leave something that’s not litter and just enough to make someone curious I consider it a gray area. There’s a local group who paints stones and leaves them where it’s not obvious but it can still be found. If you write a word of encouragement on the stone it might be found by the right person at the right time to change their day. And wouldn’t that be a good way to leave your mark on the world? Not written in stone but transferred to a heart through the stone.

Warm weather is upon us and people will be out enjoying the fresh air. If you can do so without breaking any laws or damaging property let me encourage you to find a way to anonymously leave something behind to make someone smile.

The Painful Truth About Yellowjackets

Summer in Appalachia means dealing with Yellowjackets. One their favorite tricks is claim a spot on your property and defend it with hundreds of ill-tempered little Warriors. I have scars from my battles with them. Not from the sting, which is relatively mild, but from colliding with inanimate objects while trying to escape the Swarm. These creatures are even at the root of my real life survival story. Perhaps I’ll tell the whole story.

In Appalachia we are one of the most productive ares for American Ginseng (Panax quinquefolius, L.). While taking forestry classes I decided that working as a digger (One who collects wild medicinal plants and sells them to exporters) to supplement my tuition money. At the time Ginseng was considered “green gold” and one pound of the dried roots would cover a large portion of my tuition. About two miles into the forest I encountered a large patch of Black Cohosh (Actaea racemosa). While not as expensive as Genseng the Cohosh is far more plentiful. Some quick math told me that I could make more money on the hour by collecting the more plentiful resource in spite the large price difference. So I removed my pick from my collection bag and began to dig. I didn’t notice the tiny little tunnel next to mass of plants and with the first impact of the tool the fight was on. With my pick still in hand I began to plow through the bushes with all of the Yellowjackets in hot Pursuit.

A small tree had fallen in the path and as I tried to jump over it my left foot became entangled in the branches. As I went down I could see my foot turn 180 degrees backwards and I knew my ankle had broken. The momentum from fall carried me over an embankment and I began rolling head over heels off the mountain side. At some point during the roll I realized that I was still holding the bare pick. If I landed on the long spike it would be “game over”. I managed to let it go at the right moment for it to be thrown clear. Next, on my other side was a rather large Bowie Knife that I used as small machete. It was coming out it’s sheath and there was nothing I could do. Just then I felt the impact of a small tree across my back and the world stopped spinning. I took a breath and checked for injuries. Aside from the broken ankle I was intact. With my left foot now pointed in the proper direction I tried to stand up. No good. The pain was too intense. There was no way I was going to belly crawl the two miles back to my truck. Since the knife managed to stay in its sheath I had a tool to cut down a seedling tree and fashion a makeshift crutch. It was a slow painful process but I managed to get back to my truck before dark. I lost a month of work while the broken bones healed and to this day that ankle is still unsteady. Now, I can’t say that I have completely made peace with the Yellowjackets. I have however come to appreciate their role in the environment. They are first and foremost predators on many pests that invade gardens and damage trees. A couple of years ago I killed a mouse out of my tool shed and by the time I was able to grab a shovel to toss the mouse away the Yellowjackets had stripped it to the bones. (It took the swarm about 30 seconds). I still don’t allow them build nests in my yard but I am getting more comfortable with them and if I didn’t know better I’d think they are getting more comfortable with me. Sometimes I think that they can smell fear and that’s why they chase you. The image above was taken with my phone. I eased up on the Yellowjacket and it didn’t seem to do anything but flip it’s antennas at me as if to say hello. Then, it turned and went about it’s business. Maybe, just maybe, it’s true that they are more scared of us than we are of them.

Ready for take off

The image above was taken at Northgate Business Park in Kanawha County West Virginia.

When I look at this image I’m taken back forty some years. Back to a time before digital photography and drones. A time when many of the conveniences we enjoy today were science fiction. We used to fly kites on a ridge like this one. We learned what was like to hold the wind in your hands. I was always convinced that one day I would build a kite large enough carry me into the clouds. I would go out on windy days with a jacket and find a nice windy spot. I would open the zipper and stick my hands in the jacket’s pockets and stretch out like a kite. I would close my eyes and turn into wind catching it my jacket. I would sway and tilt just like the kites did. As I grew older, I learned that jackets don’t make good hang gliders but I never lost that dream. Even today I will sometimes open my jacket with hands in pockets and imagine that I’m floating in the wind. Perhaps that’s one reason why I like this spot. It looks like a great runway and I just happen to be wearing my flying jacket today.