The Gauley River winds it’s way through the hills past the painted sandstone cliffs of Gad, West Virginia. But the river is under the lake even at winter pool. I stand on the end of the cement block which serves as a dock on the last portion of the road that once Followed McKee”s Creek. Prior to the lake this was the main road through farmland below the high cliffs. I would have loved to see it in its heyday but it was flooded two years before I was born. I’ve been told that it was like a storybook with rolling hills and green pastures. There’s pictures online of the quaint general store which also functioned as a post office. Everyone is on horseback in that picture. I do remember when the bridge in tonight’s feature image was only two lanes. That was before they rerouted the highway and in the place where cars and trucks now travel at eighty miles per hour I rode a horse myself. That was the big draw for the local in. You could ride horses all the way to the lake. There was time to actually experience life when we moved slower. I often wonder if there’s an inverse relationship between the speed of travel and the quality of life. A kayak came gliding in while I was reviewing the pictures of the lake and bridge and lady who was in it seemed so much happier than the guys in the speedboat that had left a few minutes prior. In fact she didn’t stop smiling until she loaded her craft into a truck and drove away.
When I was a kid camping on the edge of the lake we used to tell ghost stories about the people who are still buried in sunken graves under the water. Today I believe that the spirit of Gad is real but it’s a feeling of peace that comes with a slower pace. The real unsettled spirits are the ones who race about on the concrete above the water.
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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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Tonight’s Feature Image is titled “ Hughes’s Bridge At Winter Pool”and is available forpurchase by using theContact Form onmy website.( justclick on thethe bell below)
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4X6 is $5.00
5X7 is $10.00
8X10 is $15.00
Some cropping may be necessary for certain sizes.
I’m also available for portraits by appointment. Use theContact Formor message me on Facebook.