The subtle hint of rose petals wafts through the meadow. All falls silent for a moment. The tall grasses part softly. Down by the water’s edge the deer raise their heads and point their ears in her direction as they gracefully give way for her passage. The light takes on a soft golden glow around her as she approaches. She whispers and the warm breeze speaks peace to all who listen. I would have thought it to be a dream had it not been for the snowy white feather she left behind.
From the first warm Spring rain you awoke to the life giving glow of solar affection.
For a season you bathed in radiance and grew strong enough to withstand the violence of the summer storms.
Strength has now faded and your tasks are complete. All that is left is to carry your golden glow to the forest floor and sleep until the time of rebirth when the sparrow sings and glory awakens you once more.
– Lloyd A Dempsey II
I have always observed that God’s Word is written first on nature. The life cycle of the deciduous trees of Appalachia teaches me that a Christian is conceived in Grace. The leaves don’t go and pull down the light from the sun. It is freely available for them to receive. We as humans don’t call down grace. It’s already here and freely available to anyone. In order to receive the life giving light of the sun the leaves must both awaken and open to receive the light. The Christian must also be awakened and open to receiving the grace of God. It’s the light that makes leaves strong enough to withstand the storms. Our strength is in Christ. At the end of the season the energy collected by the leaves stays in the leaf and is added to the fertility of the forest floor which is taken up by the roots of the tree and used to produce a new leaf. The Grace of God is carried into death by the believer until the day that Christ returns and wakes us from mortal slumber and we are made new.
I stumbled across this cairn last year. I knew that people would stack up rocks as a way of marking that they had been there but I didn’t know that it was called a cairn. I had always thought that a cairn a Celtic tomb. It’s a much nicer way to leave you mark than tagging. I guess it’s human nature to want a marker to say “I have been here. ” I was at the end of the Kilroy fad. I never knew why we did it and the origin of the mark is… well, “lost to urban legend “. I just knew that he was a funny little guy with a big nose and he likes to peak over the walls. Below is a poorly scrawled example. ( There’s a reason why I do photography instead of drawing )
No matter if it’s a stack of rocks or a poorly scrawled cartoon we seem to want to be remembered. Even if it’s anonymous. We have an instinct to not be forgotten. I have also picked up a small stone from my land and made a mark on it to leave behind on a trail.
(One of my abstract marks . It’s a stylized representation of my initials)
I wouldn’t recommend defacing public or private property thought. But, if you leave something that’s not litter and just enough to make someone curious I consider it a gray area. There’s a local group who paints stones and leaves them where it’s not obvious but it can still be found. If you write a word of encouragement on the stone it might be found by the right person at the right time to change their day. And wouldn’t that be a good way to leave your mark on the world? Not written in stone but transferred to a heart through the stone.
Warm weather is upon us and people will be out enjoying the fresh air. If you can do so without breaking any laws or damaging property let me encourage you to find a way to anonymously leave something behind to make someone smile.
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.
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.
I’m all out of deep thoughts today. Sometimes you just need to sit down and calmly recharge. It’s okay. Even Kal-El ( aka Superman) needed a day off to just go be Clark Kent. However, I’ll take a quiet spot on the lake over a frozen fortress any day.
This fishing peer on Summerville Lake in West Virginia is one of my many fortresses of solitude. It’s not that I’m really alone there, it’s actually a popular place. But it’s also a place where I feel free enough to put away the person who the world sees. I can tuck my cape into my shirt, slide on my glasses and pretend to be normal for a little while.
I had an opportunity to venture out beyond my normal routine today. As I walked along the trail at Salmon Run I found this natural threshold. There was a homestead close by at one time but the mountains are quick to reclaim anything that isn’t maintained. Perhaps the threshold here is a warning. “Beyond this point you must leave the outside world behind”. As I walked on a little further the forest began to strip away the domesticated part of my spirit. My feral nature returned. I could smell the wood and stone. I could hear the scampering of small feet just out of sight. The birds are chirping but something caught my attention. There was a hole in the noise. If one stays very still and listens the forest will tell you what is happening around you. As I tracked the silence a jogger came down the path. Once he and his dog passed the noise came back.
It was good to get out of the house even if only for a few minutes. Today was a good day.