What you do in life matters. Our actions and words create ripples that travel outward and interact with world around us. Try to make a splash in the world but make it a positive splash. Eventually, those tiny waves will rebound back to you.
The rainy season is upon the Appalachian Mountains. The small roadside park below the local hydroelectric dam floods often but today the water was only up to the parking lot so I decided to stop and see if any pictures presented themselves. I used to able to capture some decent shots of the falls here but the trees were allowed to grow along the shore. The sandbar willow trees that grow along the bank of the river are allowed to grow as a form of erosion control and I think allowing nature to take it’s course was a good option. By the time I got to the spot the fog had obscured the falls anyway. However, I was not disappointed with the effort. This clump of trees seemed to be shouting “PICK US MISTER! PICK US! as they proudly stood there in the water’s edge. Who am I to resist when mother nature volunteers to pose for portrait? Life is about opportunity. Take advantage of every moment and opportunity will present itself.
The days are noticeably longer in the Appalachian mountains. Mother nature has begun to open her sleepy eyes. The buds on the trees have begun to swell and some of early flowers will be in bloom in just a few weeks. We’re still expected a few cold days and a spring snow is quite common in the end of March or early April. The Southern breeze occasionally peeks up out of the Gulf of Mexico to share warm kisses and hasten the thaw. Soon it will be time to plant gardens and make plans for cookouts and family gatherings. Most of all, there’s opportunity to find a nice quiet spot and just breathe in nature.
The tree in the image above grows in a park next to New River Gorge Bridge. The bridge is over 3000 feet long (924 m) and 876 feet high (276 m)
The catwalk under the bridge is open to the public and tourists can walk out over the gorge. I have texted with and seen pictures of one of the engineers walking the steel beams without a net or safety line. But I digress.
With the weather warming up I hope to bring you some fresh images of West Virginia. Our mountains and valleys are truly beautiful in the Spring.
Late last summer I managed to get a nice shot of sunset over the Kanawha River. The golden dome in the background is our capital building. My home is at the other end this river. When I was a kid I was told that the word Kanawha was a Native American word for big river. Today I checked via Google and was given a few more interpretations. The Shawnee say that it’s a word for new water and the Catabwa say it means friendly brother. That’s odd to me because I have always thought that both tribes spoke Algonquin. What’s in a name anyway? Whatever Kanawha means it’s a major resource. The tug boats are often seen pushing massive amounts of coal up and downstream. The Kanawha River has been a major resource for thousands of years and it still is today.
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
Today is dreary day in the mountains of Appalachia. There’s been heavy rain and gray skies all day. By morning the ice and snow is supposed to return. On days like today I like to look at the summer images that I’ve taken. It makes me feel like I’m sitting by one of our rivers with a Zebco 33 and one of my favorite lures. The simple repetitive action of casting and slowly drawing the line back in has a meditative quality for me. I don’t even really care if anything bites. Like Zen archery ( or at least my understanding of it ) it’s all about clearing the mind and regaining focus. The image above was taken on the Meadow River during one of these trips. The spot is known mostly to locals and I’m sworn to secrecy as to the exact spot. Behind me a small campfire crackles softly making just enough smoke to keep mosquitoes away. It didn’t seem to bother the butterflies that danced and played on the buttonbush. I made one last cast into the river and slowly retrieve. There’s a tug on the other end of line. But, I let him go. Sometimes is not about the fish, it’s about the fishing and memories that are made.
Mankind is a wild animal. We hide it with technology, office buildings and fashionable clothes but in our hearts we instinctively know we must be free to roam. We crave the fresh air and sunshine. We need to find that special spot where we can center our thoughts and breathe. There’s something refreshing about the the smell of the stones and the trees along some fern covered forest floor. If you can sit still enough for long enough nature begins to welcome you home. More than once I’ve had small birds get curious enough to land just out of reach. Sometimes I have fallen asleep only to wake up at the sound of footsteps creeping ever closer. I open one eye and slowly turn my head to see a deer nervously trying to figure out who is on the path.
We live in a age and wonder. The technology in my phone was only science fiction when I got my first job. It has allowed me to share my perspective with the world. Even the pictures taken by the camera can be instantly sent across the planet. Yet with all this access there’s still a drive to be free from it all and just quietly exist.