Hello Friends! Tonight’s feature image is titled “Awakening In March” and is available for purchase by following the instructions at the bottom of the page.
I’m the kind of person who is done with ice and snow about 2 days after Christmas. I have been longing for green leaves and a walk down a moss covered path for quite some time now. We still have a little ways to go yet but yesterday’s revelation of the Bradford pear with it’s swollen flower buds was just the boost I needed. So much so that I decided to savor the moment and post the closeup as a second post. I live at a higher elevation and the valley always greens up a few days to a few weeks before it does at my house. In addition to the Bradford pear I’m starting to notice that familiar crimson tinge on the red maple twigs that tells me they are waking up too. The sight of these things reminds me of being challenged to swim from the Battle Run “Beach” to the campground under water. Unless you’re Michael Phelps it’s only possible by occasionally coming up for air a few times. These buds are the fresh breath I need to get through until mid April. In addition I’m thrilled that we reset the clocks to Daylight saving time tonight and that means it’s no longer dark when I get home. ( Can we just move it by 1/2 hour and leave it there?). You might be discouraged to see the snow covering the delicate buds but have no fear. This actually helps them survive the cold! I have been reviewing the metadata on in my archive to judge the dates of my natural calendar. Last year this tree was in full bloom on March 16th. By April 2nd the the Japanese Maple at the shopping center had tiny new leaves. The Redbud was in full bloom on April 14th and on April 23rd the dogwood trees were just starting to open. On April 25th last year I took a picture of a wild mustard plant in full bloom. And by April 27th the blackberries had both bloom and deep green leaves.
In closing, I know that tonight’s post is a little longer than normal and that I didn’t really cover the normal topic of taking time to declutter the mind but I do find encouragement in stepping back and gauging how long it is before the beauty of the Appalachian Mountains reveals itself in it’s milder form.
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It the middle of a open field on the property where I grew up stands this lone Yellow Poplar. Now, I presume that quite a few people won’t understand why that’s a little odd. These trees do not resist strong winds very well. They tend to be found in clumps. Alone, this tree has no protection against storms. And yet, it’s been there surviving everything the weather can throw at it. I’ve seen it covered in ice, heavy snow and blasted with cyclone strength winds. This tree should have broken a very long time ago. Yes it’s got a few battle scars. These are reminders of the storms that failed as it stood defying the gale force winds.
Sometimes we wonder why the storm happened in our lives. There will always be a storm. But branches and leaves will grow back eventually. Like this tree our strength isn’t in the branches that can be broken. Our strength is in our strong roots than anchor us in the storm.
Morning in the mountains of Appalachia can be spectacular. The fury of old man winter is no match for the warm southern sun. Fire bursts over the mountains and the frost shrinks back little by little until nothing is left.
The Kanawha River blazing with the light of a new day begins to shake itself free of its icy cage. The river has work to get done today. Barges must be moved and energy has to be produced. Downstream there’s hot steel to be quenched and tempered. It’s a very busy day ahead for the mighty Kanawha River.
Our paths are not always easy in life. Some roads are paved others are rocky and then there are the ones that are forbidden. If you’re a curious person like me then you know how hard it is to leave a mystery behind. There’s a locked gate in front of this road. I know from soil survey maps that it’s a strip mine. One of many in my area. And there’s actually a guard just out of sight here. The guard tolerates my stopping at the gate and snapping a few pictures every so often. Sometimes he wants to see how the image turns out. But I’m not allowed to see what is on the other side of the hill. The urge to see what is out there is a basic human drive. We’re all explorers at heart. We need to find out where the road goes and what is out there. It’s not always a physical road like this one. Sometimes it’s an idea or a question that provides the puzzle. Exploring is more than just seeing. It’s experiencing the goal. The sound of the birds in a hidden meadow. It’s the bite of the winter wind and the glimmer of ice while the land sleeps. It’s life in motion. It’s the difference between living and existing.