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.
Do you ever wonder where all the great thinkers are today? The inventors, philosophers and problem solvers? Who are the real world leaders? I think I have an answer. They are you. You are the greatest resource on planet Earth. You, the individual. The human mind is the only known creation on planet Earth with the ability to reason beyond the moment. You have the capacity to dream and to forge that dream into a reality. Sure some are more skilled at different forms of creativity than others but that’s a measure of quality not capacity. As a human, you are singularly able to change your world to suit your vision. That’s why quite time is so important. You generate your visions in those times when you can get away from the noise of all the other voices in the world and have free thought. It’s how you sweep away the clutter of the mind and bring dreams into focus to obtain that clear vision.
The featured image is one such place where I like to go. It’s a spot on the Gauley River just below Summersville Dam. As the water pours out of overflow tunnels it forms class six rapids and the roaring river blocks out the noisy world. This is birthplace of many dreams and a refuge for a busy mind.
In the 1970s my brother and I would watch science fiction reruns on VHF T.V. and the adventures of Saturday Afternoons included reliving those we observed in monochrome. Flash Gordon, Buck Rogers and a slough of guys in rubber suits. Space travel was still new and every time an astronaut was shot into space the world held it’s breath. For two brothers growing up in rural Appalachia virtual reality required a large empty box, some crayons and bits of whatever they could find. Was the moon really made of green cheese? There’s only one way to find out.
The two boys worked diligently. Because they were brothers they didn’t need to speak much. Each knew instinctively what the other needed. A piece of tape here and crayon there. Flashlights rested in cardboard holsters on their hips. If the enemies attack before they were done they would need their laser swords close at a hand. The last meteor shower had done a lot of damage to the ship. Repairs took a lot of time but doing it right was worth the effort. Being the better mathematician, the younger brother picked up a stick and double checked his calculations in the dirt. “I think we’re ready.” He said as the boys stepped back and admired their handiwork. The refrigerator box had everything a good spaceship needs. Empty two liter bottles for rocket boosters. Empty toilet paper tubes for death rays. And flexible hoses they found in the shed for miscellaneous systems. They were really ready for a moon landing. Fortunately, they were able to record some space sounds by placing a cassette tape recorder next to T.V. This would allow for more realistic experience. The young astronauts entered into the cardboard ship and took their places at the control panel. The older brother pushed play on the recorder. Three…Two…One.. We have liftoff!
The adventure never ends as long as you believe.
I think everyone has had that feeling that they just don’t fit in at some point. In fact I’d say it’s multiple points for most of us. The temptation is to forsake one’s individuality for sake of the crowd. But isn’t that lying? It’s one thing to be polite and respectful towards other opinions but it another thing altogether to fein total agreement. What’s more is that when the truth eventually comes out the others in the group will feel betrayed. A true friendship can handle some individualism and if it can’t then it was never a true friendship in the first place. It was only mimicry.
Being your own person is often difficult. There’s going to be conflict and in today’s world a large portion of population is under the misunderstanding that disagreement and hate are the same thing. They most certainly are not. God could have created a world of clones where everyone is exactly alike. Everyone would have the same opinions, the same ideas and the same looks. How boring would that be? There would also be no fresh ideas, no variety and no excitement. I’m starting to meander here so I’m just going to get to point. Don’t be afraid to stand out. Sure there’s going to be people who don’t accept you because they can’t handle anyone who doesn’t mirror them but do you really want to burden yourself with such a shallow person? Just be yourself.
Somewhere in the deepest recesses of my imagination there’s a magic bridge that can take me to any place that’s real or imagined. I can go to any point in time. There will be mystery and adventure. Tonight as I try to crossover into my adventure I am faced by an opponent who blocks my bridge and tries to prevent my crossing. He’s an ugly little troll who demands his toll! His name is writer’s block. He has the nerve to set himself right in the middle of my bridge and refuses to budge. How shall I overcome this terrible little tyrant? The pen is mightier than the sword, or so they say. But he simply ducks each stroke and laughs. Well then little troll we should turn the pen and simply blot you out. No good. The little troll just sneers and reappears with a mischievous grin as he begins heckling and taunting me. From my bag of tricks I draw forth musicians and poets. They sing and dance at my command as I orchestrate a playlist the way a general would direct his army. The music fails to remove the troll but I can tell that I extracted a toll of my own. I have the troll “on the ropes”. He is beginning to wear down. It’s time for a coup de gras! A few good stories from my fellow authors should inspire a dream that will seal the little troll’s doom. And that’s where I call upon you my dear readers and friends. There are comments allowed below. Tell me, how do you defeat the troll and take back your bridge to adventure?
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.
Sometimes when I’m out in yard looking at the small stream that flows through my property it looks like a tiny raging river. I have made a concentrated effort to maintain and cultivate my Peter Pan Syndrome. I still toss leaves into the water and race them downstream. The small minnows in the eddies become sharks. A crayfish makes a fine sea monster and the rocks are islands that are ripe for expiration. Who said that being a grown-up means that there’s no time for daydreaming? Gene Roddenberry once said that the best part about the success of Star Trek was having a nice office to daydream in. He made a successful career out of pretending to have adventures in the vastness of outer space. Sure, he used the format to tell morality plays and make important comments about society but in my mind’s eye I can see him with a toy Enterprise having space battles with Klingons. I’ll bet that when nobody else was in the room he even made the “pew pew” sounds of Phasers and photon torpedoes. I have seen a lot of writers post about the finer points of creativity and how to properly relate your story to the audience but it all starts with holding onto a daydream.