Hughes Bridge & Some Thoughts About Being On The Wrong Road

The lake at winter pool seems like a world long forgotten. The water birds leisurely take the place where boats once sped by pulling tubes full of laughing kids. The only sounds are that of lapping water and the occasional Blue Jay in the trees along the canyon walls. If not for the bridge it would be easy to believe that this was a world reclaimed by nature. Behind me, McKees Creek looks like a Martian landscape except for the road and bridge that is under water the rest of the year.

Once I returned my gaze to the main body of water and the bridge that takes Route 19 from Summerville to Mt. Nebo I began to think about how bridges symbolize transition. Here I stand on one shore looking at the device that would get me to the other side. But from this perspective the bridge is unreachable. If for some reason I needed to get to Mt. Nebo I couldn’t get there from here. The road that I’m standing on disappears beneath the deep lake. I would actually need to backtrack a few miles in order to reach the right road. I would have to admit that I was in the wrong place before I could get to where I needed to be. I could deny my error and complain that they put the bridge in the wrong place or that there should be a ferry to help people who are on the wrong path but the bridge was placed where it needed to be and there is no ferry. A way was made for me to use and in order to use it I am the one who needs make the adjustment. I would have to correct my own errors and get on the right road. The longer I delayed resolution the worse it get.

Over the years it was hard for me to learn to quickly admit when I was wrong and thereby avoid complicated entanglements that made it even harder to fix. It’s still something that I have to “fine tune” at times but it has been one of the most empowering life skills that I’ve gained. It’s also the skill that has given me the opportunity for the most progress in multiple areas of my life.

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Fire On The Mountain & Alone Time With God

They had been walking for a very long time. Everyone was exhausted and cranky. The children were crying and the old people just sighed with “that look” on there faces. Along the way there were miracles and even now all of there shoes looked like brand new but still the people complained. Moses lifted his eyes to see the fire settling down on top of the mountain.

One of the most important things in life is alone time with God. That’s actually a lot of the reason why I crave the moments of solitude and the quiet places. It always helps to get out and away from society and the distraction of various responsibilities and obligations. I like to sit down and talk to God just like I talk to anyone else in the room or on the trail. There may not be fire and smoke or the voice of a trumpet but He’s always there just the same.

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A Bright Spot On A Rainy Monday

The cold rain falls from the darkened sky as the big blue truck takes me on my daily trek out of the mountains and into our capital city of Charleston West Virginia. The Carpenters had a valid point. Rainy days and Mondays are less than a joy in modern life. Rainy Mondays can be the worst. The rain collected on the windshield while I was having fuel pumped and there it was. A bright spot on my cold rainy Monday. I watched as the rain tried to wash away my bright spot but it only grew larger. In fact it continued to grow larger and brighter until I had enough to focus on and I captured it. I quickly pulled up the image and quickly edited for composition and brother the color and lighting back to what my eyes saw and held onto my bright spot all day. I made it the wallpaper on my phone and workstation at my day job. I focused on the bright spot all day and by afternoon the rain stopped.

Dark days are going to come. There’s no avoiding it. Rain is necessary to fill the aquifers that we draw from in the heat of the Summer. But I’m betting that if you look closely during the rain you’ll find a bright spot that refuses to be washed away. If you can focus on it then it will carry you through the dark times.

Shout out to Brown’s Service Station of Belva West Virginia for being a genuine full service gas station and coming out to operate the fuel pump no matter what the weather is.

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Homebound

The road home can be a steep climb. Sometimes there’s unexpected twists and turns. Some days the journey is through wind and rain or ice and snow. Some days are full of warm sunshine and the trees are full of singing birds. The journey home can be long. Blessed is the one who is joined by companions who encourage you to continue on. Even if they can’t travel along beside you every day. The warm smile in greeting and the voice that speaks gentle words of encouragement was a greater gift than you ever knew. It shouldn’t come as a shock that you made it home first. You should know that those encouraging words will echo in my memory until the day that I also approach that gate that marks the end of the journey. I won’t be surprised to see your smile or listen to the excitement in your voice as the gate opens up to welcome us home.

In honor of Billy. I’ll see you when I get home too.

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About That Ivy On Your Antique Decorations

You really couldn’t find a better symbol of resilience than English Ivy. Not only is it evergreen it seems to thrive wherever it puts down roots. I had always noticed that in some older Christmas decorations that English Ivy seemed to be present but I really didn’t know why. Here in the Southern United States holly and Mistletoe are staples of Christmas decor. So much so that unless you are an active observer you might mistake the Ivy for stylized holly. But it’s not. As I started to dig a little deeper into Ivy as a Christmas symbol I learned that it’s use peaked somewhere around the year 1200 Anno Domini. Like all Christmas symbols it has roots in paganism but then if people can be converted then why not symbolism? But I digress. The Christian symbolism of Ivy at Christmas is that of the believer. Like the Ivy the believer thrives wherever he/she is planted. Like the Ivy the believer is evergreen in having eternal life. And like the Ivy the believer must have support. English Ivy must have a wall or something to hold it up in order to reach the heavens. And the believer must lean on Christ throughout his/her life.

The next time you are pulling out those antique Christmas decorations look closely at the filigree. For years what I thought was holly turned out to be English Ivy.

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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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The Old Barn On Muddlety Creek, November 2018

I had a few minutes to spare on my last trip to town a few days ago and decided to pay a visit to one of my favorite subjects. Namely, the old barn on Muddelty Creek. The past few years has not been kind to this majestic old barn. More of the roof has been stripped away by the wind. The framework is sagging more than the last time I was there as well. I have learned a little more about the history of the barn and how it came to be left derelict and neglected. It was and still is tied up in legal issues. As I stand on the quiet country road doing my work with the lens the damp air grows more chilled and a light snow starts to fall. I can’t help but to imagine the old barn in happier times. Children would have been playing games in and around the barn as livestock grazes in the background. A young boy and his sister poke their heads out from the loft door and look for shapes in the clouds. A young mother watches with safety concerns from a kitchen window as her husband reassures her that the kids will be just fine. He pauses for moment and suggests that perhaps he should go and look for the farriers rasp that he lost in the barn last week. She knows that she saw that rasp hanging next to the horse’s stall. Right where it’s always been since the day they were married. Soon after he enters the barn the children exit and go off to play a different game.

I’m roused from my daydreaming by a large snowflake that lands right in my ear. I’ll take a few more shots from a couple of different angles and wish the old barn well as I climb in the big blue truck and run my errands. What the future holds for the old barn is unclear but for as long as it offers it’s beauty and inspiration I’ll continue to come to this spot for a daydream and photos.

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