Falling In Love With Twins

The gently babbling water flows over the rocks. In the shallow pools small fish dart under cover as my shadow crosses in front of them. Dragonflies and Damselflies zip around and occasionally hover. A small crayfish crawls from one pool to another. Somewhere behind me the distinct sounds of a woodpecker hammering away at an old snag echoes through the mountains.

I step carefully as I approached the spot where I will place my tripod. I am in a public park but the copperheads don’t understand that everyone is welcomed here and I’d rather not suffer another bite. Satisfied that I’m not disturbing a sleeping serpent, I begin to set up my camera. The twin falls of Glade Creek are one of our most popular places. They’re certainly not the highest falls in West Virginia but there’s something about the perfect symmetry that’s irresistible. The sun is high in sky and I want the water to come out nice and silky so I make the appropriate adjustments and set the timer hoping that the children playing nearby can stay out frame for just a few more seconds. This was ten years ago and it was one of my first with a real camera. The result is still one of my favorite images today.

The Answers Were There Already

Tonight’s image is the water wheel of the Glade Creek Grist Mill at Babcock State Park. I took the picture several years ago when I was interested in creating a micro-hydro power plant for my home. My plan was to study pictures of water wheels and eventually make something that I could use to run the lights during an outage. While the plans for an energy independent home never manifested I learned a lot about the difference between working with God’s creation and working against it. Providence is always there waiting for us but we have to recognize it and figure out how to take advantage of it. For a wheel like the one here there has to be enough water above the wheel to move the heavy stones that grind the grains into flour. This means that the mill has to be in just the right spot and the water has to be channeled. Debris has to be filtered out to avoid damage to the wheel. The spot has to be on a stable foundation. And that’s just the beginning. Sometimes when we’re praying and searching for God to fill a need in our lives we expect Him to drop the answers in our lap fully assembled and all tied up with a pretty bow. That can happen but more often than not God provides the components and we have to recognize them and then make use of them. The water, the stones, the trees that became the wood and even the physics that govern the use were all in existence long before the mill was created to fill the needs and feed the people. When we are praying for God to make a way it’s likely that He’s already made a provision if we can just figure out how to put it together.

Crafts of Ansted

Hello Friends and travelers! I just wanted to let my readers know about Crafts of Ansted. It is located in the old Blue Smoke Salsa building in Ansted West Virginia. (Directions found on the Facebook page in the link) I have prints for sale at at this wonderful little shop . Some which have been published here on my blog and others which have not yet been featured.

However, you already know about me. I wanted to let you know about all the other wonderful things that you can find in the gift shop.

Artists from the local area have produced an awesome array of art in different media. There are quilts, crocheted items, books, tie-dyed tee shirts, paintings and more! Since a picture is worth a thousand words and that’s my main media here’s a short essay about what can be purchased here. 😍 When you’re in the area visiting the New River Gorge Bridge, Hawks Nest State Park or a fishing trip to Boley Lake at Babcock State Park it’s certainly worth stopping by our little co-op for some hand made souvenirs 😁

Glade Creek Grist Mill at Babcock State Park 4.29.18

I love the old Glade Creek Grist Mill at Babcock State Park in West Virginia. I have been told that it’s the most photographed mill in North America. It always has an awesome scene to capture no matter what the season. The mill was actually built from the recovered pieces of other mills that had shut down. West Virginia is known for its coal mining but we have a lot to offer in green energy too. Our rivers and streams are in perpetual motion and capable doing a lot of work. This mill is still operating seasonally and grinds grain but others in the past milled lumber for our timber industry.

This image was taken last Sunday prior to meeting with a client for portraits. (Yes, I do portraits too 😁 anyone in southern West Virginia that is interested in portraits can contact me either on my website contact page or message me on Facebook)

A Dinosaur Hunt (Well, Sort of…)

Pictured above is the fossil of Lepidodendron. Theses are common find on West Virginia. I found this one as part of the wall of the gift shop at Babcock State Park. 😉 At one point I had the beginnings of a decent collection but donated them to an education effort. The surprising thing is when we find fossils of sea creatures on our mountain tops. ( Well, not so surprising to those of us who believe in a global flood 😁) I have found clusters of seashells in the Greenbriar River. Several years ago I was filling potholes in a private road and broke open some sandstone to find the fossils of reeds.

There’s a trick to finding fossils. First, you have to have an idea of where to look. I have had the best luck by studying the lay of the land and if I spot a place that has a depression where water gathers that’s a good place. Next, I look for sandstone. Fossils form when silica fills the organic matter and sandstone is silica. If the stone has layers then that’s a good sign too. I carefully place a chisel into the seam and gently tap. The layer should simply separate. More often than not there’s no fossil but it does give one an excuse to get outside and enjoy the fresh air. As always I implore you to respect private and public property which means that you need permission from the landowner. But it’s a relatively relaxing activity that’s cheap and easy. Even if you don’t find a fossil you might find a stone with neat patterns that could used as part of an art project. Give it try.

Be Still and Know

“Be still, and know that I amGod: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.”
Psalms 46:10
King James Version (KJV)

Sometimes it’s hard to simply be still. As humans, we are creatures of action. We want to make things happen on our schedule. We desire to crack open a situation and “fix” it to fit into our plans. However, it’s not our plans that need to be completed. God has a plan and He is able to complete it. We have all had the experience of the over eager helper who means well but messes up the plan by doing the wrong thing at the wrong time. Or even when it’s right thing but at the wrong time.

Imagine that you have a classic car and you’re preparing it for a show. Your child wants to help and you’re overjoyed. Now, imagine that you’re soaping up the driver’s side and you look up to find the child waxing the unwashed passenger side. There’s a big smile on his face because he’s giving you his best effort and he’s proud because he hasn’t missed a spot. How often do we mess up God’s plans by trying to help but not doing it at the right time? How often do we try to polish a soul that God is still cleaning? I know that the verse above is normally quoted by folks who mean to inspire a sense of peace but there are times when God is simply saying “Step back a minute, I got this”. In those times we need to step back and let God deal with it.

Reel Life

There’s no better thing on this Earth than to be a ten year old boy with a fishing rod, a lake and no responsibility. The little guy in this photo ran into frame and had nothing on his mind except for getting a hook in the water. I was struck by the thought of a “Reel Life”. That’s not a typo. Reel life should always be part of real life and it’s only going to happen in “Reel Time”. Even if you’re not interested fishing at least make time to get close to nature. Human beings are just as much a part of this planet as any other wildlife. The time spent in fresh air and sunshine is not just good for the body but it also does wonders for the soul.