Summersville Lake is unique in West Virginia in that we have the only lighthouse in the state. Standing on private land the lighthouse overlooks both the lake and the Route 19. The lighthouse is recent addition but when I was a kid there was a beacon light from the local airport. In stormy weather we would see the flash from the airport and think that there was a lighthouse that only lit up in storms. We couldn’t see the actual tower. Just the beam reflected off of the clouds into the window of our bedroom. It would light up the bedroom as we slept and we knew that somewhere out there it wasn’t so dark.
It’s good to have a guiding light when times are dark and dreary. We need a fixed point to center ourselves and a light to sweep away the darkness no matter if you’re on dark foggy water, traveling on a four lane highway or snuggled up under the covers on a stormy night.
The soft evening light draws me westward. The golden lines lead me home. Twilight is such a magical time. In the transitional light shadows dance to tune of the whippoorwill and coyote. Heaven’s door opens as angels march out. They go to and fro to the corners of the world in a changing of the guard. Their orders are to watch over the faithful. And if need be, escort them home to rest if one’s work is done. As the setting sun goes over the horizon the golden hue shifts to a crimson glow. It is a reminder of the price paid and the seal set. Travel on and follow the road. Home is just beyond the next horizon.
Tonight’s image was taken in Nicholas County West Virginia. It is Route 129 across the Summerville dam. As I was looking at this picture the yellow lines made think about the golden rule, the narrow path and the way to my heavenly home.
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There are days that are absolutely awesome. The birds are singing, the clouds are big and puffy, and sun is shining. A balmy breeze rushes through and seems to give you a hug as it passes on beautiful days like that. Warm summer days are days that are custom made for creating memories. A quick trip to the park or the lake and nothing to do except be with a loved one and hold hands while taking a leisurely stroll. I wouldn’t need a camera to have the image of such a day forever in my heart.
But, today is definitely not one of those days. Today we have a visitor to our wild Wonderful West Virginia. The the last tropical storm to make landfall on the Atlantic coast has decided that we need to enjoy it’s presence. The wind has been relatively quiet but the rain bands have pushed their way past the natural barrier of the Blue Ridge Mountains and are planning a few days of fun. In truth it means that those who have come to enjoy the white water rafting and kayaking will have a great time with our rivers swollen from the rain. It’s something that happens quite often this time of year. The sky is dark and foreboding and for a while every stream coming off the mountain is a miniature river. These are the days when I take the sunshine out of its bottle in the form of a photo. I’m instantly drawn back into that perfect sunny day. I can even smell the dinner being made on a grill.
We can’t expect that every day will be awesome. Rain has to fall and like everything else there will be days when we have more than we need at the moment. That’s life. On other days we’ll see more than out share of beautiful weather. My whole life I’ve been told to look on the bright side. As I’ve grown I’ve discovered that looking on the bright side is much easier when you carry the sunshine inside of you.
The hot summer sun slowly sinks into the West and I can feel the coolness of the night sweep across the Lake. On the other shore near the sunset I can hear the doors of cars shutting as the engines pur to life and the swimmers make their way home. The smell of food cooked over an open flame lingers in the air. Small birds begin to skim across the water catching insects. The bird songs soon give way to the chirping of crickets and the occasional sound of a treefrog close to the shore. Deeper into the woods the hair raising cry of a screech owl rings out as he challenges his rivals for territory. Soon the evening star raises over the mountains signaling an end to the day. The headlights of my big blue truck come to life when I use the remote to unlock the door. It’s time to ease back up the gravel road and go process the images of the day.
I really enjoy it when a photo brings up such a vivid memory. The field of little yellow flowers was alive with the humming of millions of bees. The warm humid air was filled with the magical fragrance of wild mints. I followed the bees from flower to flower while enjoying the occasional butterfly floating around in the warm breeze. I lost track of time in this place. I spent a few hours just absorbing the peace and presence of God.
The featured image for this post is the Old Main School building in Nicholas County West Virginia. This is where the notorious bat incident of 1983 took place. I mentioned it in a previous article but in short a young man that was taking a class in introductory literature misused his borderline criminal genius to add some realistic excitement during a reading of Homer. Unfortunately as an adult I’m actually held responsible for my actions today. It’s just as well, at her age the teacher probably couldn’t handle the shock. The yard you see in the foreground is one of the places where we would have lunch. In the Early 80s there would have been two or three boom boxes powered by large (by today’s standards) battery banks. You would have seen some Walkman radio/cassette payers. These bright yellow boxes were carried on the belt or in a pocket. Today we do everything on our phones but when I roamed the halls of this building a mobile phone was the size of a shoe box (or larger) and had to plugged into a car. When I attended classes here the building was heated by steam pipes and occasionally we would see large accumulations of Ice near the vents.
The historic building is one hundred and fifteen years old. It serves as a center for the arts now. Perhaps one day day I’ll see a play based on the the Odyssey there. But, I’ll bet that when the adventure gets to the river Styx they don’t have real bats for effect.
Sitting on the bank in the warm August sun last year. Small birds swooped down and skimed the surface of the lake as they picked off insects. Dragonflies and Damselflies dart around and occasionally hover to check out the large creature in a fedora that had wondered into their hunting grounds. A large carp lazily floats up to surface and rolls back into the murky depths. Small feet scurrying across the forest floor. The dry leaves make it sound like a bear romping but it’s only a squirrel. He runs up the trunk of one of the trees so he too can get a good look at me. Then disappears with the flip a bushy tail. A shadow zips across my field of vision. It’s a red tail hawk. “That’s why the squirrel left in such a hurry ” I tell myself as I shade my eyes from the sun’s glare. The busyness of every day life melts away from my soul in the warm summer days by the lake.