Winter Reflections

For me, there’s nothing quite as calming as simply looking out over smooth water. Even if it’s from the cab of my big blue truck with heater running full blast. All the little nit picky stuff just seems to float away with gentle movements of the river as I become lost in a world of reflections. It’s not as easy to spot in the feature image but there’s a log out in the middle of Kanawha River at Glen Ferris West Virginia that I’ve dubbed “The River Monster Of Glen Ferris” after the Loch Ness Monster. Mostly because of the graceful arch of the branch that breaks the surface. As gaze at the lines and textures of bushes and trees there is a rhythmic noise in the distance followed by the long drone of the air horn. The single light that rounds the bend belies the train as it makes it’s way up river to places I can only view as part of a larger landscape. The winter setting brings on the early stages of wanderlust as the train passes. My mind’s eye fills in the blanks with spectacular scenes of high canyons and cascading water surrounded God’s handiwork. There’s huge majestic virgin timber and painted sandstone cliffs beyond the little fishing camps that dot the banks of New River. I have been through parts of the canyon in a boat that takes you from Hawk’s Nest Dam to the New River Gorge Bridge but I always felt like I was just passing through the Gorge instead of exploring it. In some ways I’m envious of my ancestors who could load up a boat and take their time as they paddled along the banks. I imagine a young Daniel Boone or Rene La Salle as he and his party surveyed the wilderness making sketches and taking notes in the margins.

The train’s air horn wakes me up from my daydream and recalls me to the modern world. The clock on the dashboard of the big blue truck says 8:05. The time for mentally exploring lands unknown has come to end once more. I take a moment and raise my lens to capture the moment preserve my imaginary journey for another day.

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Tonight’s Feature Image is titled “Winter Reflections” and is available for purchase by usingthe Contact Form on my website. ( just click on the the bell below)

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Winter And Wild Teas

In the natural world winter is a time for rest. The animals tend to stay in their dens. The hardwood trees are in a deep sleep as are the bears. Even the deer find a nice place in the deep woods where they can shelter from the cold. The days are still short and the cold nights are long. Just perfect for deep rest.

The giant elm tree in tonight’s feature image is just as beautiful in the winter as it is with its leaves on in the warmer months. One of the special treats of the colder months when I was a kid was bark teas. I’d be careful about where I harvested the bark (see note below) but elm actually has a nice spicy flavor. Several years ago I was able to try it for the first time. Traditionally it’s used for sore throats and colds ( I’m not a doctor or a certified anything so this is historical statement and not medical advice) due to the gelatinous fiber it yields. The flavor is similar to the Balsam Poplar that grows in higher elevations. In just a few months the buds will begin to swell and they make a good tea as well. In the old days, the Basswood (Linden or Lyme in Europe) buds were a source of winter food for my ancestors. Winter hikes in my teens always included stopping by a grove of black birch for a handful of wintergreen flavored twigs to nibble on. Sassafras was also a wonderful bark tea with an aroma that filled the house. There’s also the Carolina Spicebush who’s twigs provide a very lemon like flavor and the red berries of the stag horn sumac which has to be filtered well but gives us a pink lemonade in winter.

Perhaps that’s why I like this big old elm tree so much. It’s not only because it’s awesome to look at but it reminds me of all the cool stuff that the Appalachian forests provide even in winter.

(NOTE: WHILE THE TREES AND FOOD USES MENTIONED IN TONIGHT’S POST WERE TRADITIONALLY USED IN APPALACHIA THERE ARE HAZARDS AND FOOD ALLERGIES TO CONSIDER. FOR EXAMPLE, THE ELM IN TONIGHT’S POST IS GROWING NEAR A PLACE WHERE HAZARDOUS SOIL CONTAMINATION IS A RISK AND THEREFORE I WOULD CONSIDER THIS PARTICULAR TREE UNSUITABLE FOR CONSUMPTION. IT’S A SAD REALITY OF THE MODERN WORLD AND JUST NOT WORTH THE RISK. MCHM IS IN USE IN THE REGION AND LOCALS KNOW ALL TOO WELL THAT BY THE TIME A SPILL IS REPORTED IT’S ALREADY TOO LATE TO PREVENT CONTAMINATION. )

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Tonight’s Feature Image is “The Big Elm At London West Virginia 12.27.18” and is available for purchase by usingthe Contact Form on my website. ( just click on the the bell below)

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The Distant Mountain

As I stand next to tracks looking out across the Kanawha River I’m drawn to the mountains in the distance. The winter has just started and I’m already developing that strong desire for far away places and new experiences. I look deeply into my photos and try to project myself into a quiet spot in the distance. I wonder where the great spots are on that mountain. Surly there’s a place where you can sit quietly on some moss covered stump and watch the squirrels play and romp through the leaves. I’m betting that if you sit there long enough a chipmunk will poke his head up out of the duff and scold you. Perhaps somewhere at the end of the curved Bridge an owl rests in an old snag, napping in spite of the noise below. I think about what must be behind that mountain. Perhaps there’s a waterfall on the other side that empties into a deep pool. And behind the falls maybe there’s a cavern with secrets not seen for one thousand years. Whatever is out there beyond the village on the other side of river it will have to wait for another day. Today all I have is curiosity and a wonderful view of the tracks.

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Tonight’s Feature Image is titled “The Curved Bridge At Alloy In Black and White” and is available for purchase by using the Contact Form on my website.

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To Go A Wandering

We’ll go a wandering, that’s what we’ll do.

We’ll find a path that’s straight, beneath a sky that’s blue.

We’ll take our time, we’ll do it right.

We’ll wander all day and into the night.

We’ll pass beyond the hills and into the dale. We’ll find everyday treasures and tales to tell.

We’ll have stars for diamonds and the moon for a pearl.

And the dawn will bring gold at the new day’s unfurl.

We’ll wander and wander and continue to roam, till path that we wander brings us home.

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Tonight’s Feature Image is titled “Straight Into Morning” and is available for purchase by using the Contact Form on my website. (Note, I do not share or sell contact information. EVER)

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The Providers

The cold December air bites my face as I approach the tree growing in the middle of Muddelty Creek. I’m not sure if it’s technically a delta but I’ve always thought of it that way. It’s almost impossible to see all of the little fingers of water that stretch out in this spot where the ducks and geese rule. I’ve come here on this wintery day to check out the scenery and seek new images and new thoughts to feed my passions. My ever active imagination wonders and in my mind’s eye I can see pre-columbian hunters riding a canoe silently through the water. With them an elder sits in silence occupying the center of the vessel. As they patrol the waters edge they stop occasionally and he mumbles a few words of prayer and gathers medicine growing in mud. A few twigs of willow here and some dried berries there. From the muddy banks they gather a few roots from the arrowleaf plant. These “duck potatoes” will help sustain them during the winter. As they paddle in a little farther they check the fish traps set out the on the prior evening. The traps are empty. They are moving towards the next set of traps when a large ripple breaks the surface of the water. The hunter in the front of the canoe takes notice and cautiously rises to his feet as the man in back of the craft attempts to bring them to halt. With a subtle thrust he sends his Atlatl dart into a spot just beyond the swirl. The stone bladed spear finds its mark and the swirl of water morphs into slashing. The huge alligator gar fish is pinned to the muddy bed of the creek by the shaft of the spear. The large fish barely fits in the little dugout canoe with the three men. The elder grins as heart swells with pride. His grandsons have learned their lessons well and fed the family with their skills.

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Tonight’s Feature Image is titled “The Loner” and is available for purchase by using the Contact Form on mywebsite. (Note, I do not share or sale contact information. EVER)

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Childhood Memories Of A Winter Morning

The hoary frost clings to the bare branches and the world starts to look like white velvet. The cool weather brings the smell of wood smoke to the valley. I can really relate to the philosophy of the bears as old man winter approaches. The urge to pull the thick quilted blankets over my head and not come out until Easter is very tempting. But then there’s the traditional cold weather hardy breakfasts that draws us back to humanity. Some of my favorite winter memories include waking up to the smell of warm maple syrup and the sounds of bacon in a hot skillet. Today we can call up any entertainment we want to with the aid of technology but in my earliest memories there was only three channels and cartoons were only available on weekends. After breakfast we would pile up on the couch with that heavy quilt and favorite pillow and spend the whole day watching T.V. Even without the T.V. I enjoyed just curling up in my blanket and watching the fire burn.

As the dark days of winter grow shorter over the next month it’s a good time to recharge your biological batteries. The light will be returning soon and soon afterwards there will be a world reborn to explore.

Hello Friends and thank you for your support of my page. If you have enjoyed the photos or the writings please let me know by commenting and sharing my work on your social media. I also want to invite you to Follow Lloyds Lens Photography on Facebook

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Tonight’s Feature Image is titled “Winter Reflections On The Kanawha River” and is available for purchase by using the Contact Form on my website.(Note, I do not share or sale contact information.EVER)

4X6 is $5.00

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Where Past Meets Future

The cold November wind cuts through the open field like a wolf chasing after it’s prey. I stand in the middle of the old highway looking at the old derelict barn and continue to allow my imagination to have it’s way with the scene in front of me. I listen to the echoes of time as they speak about what might have been and what may be again one day. Last night I wrote about a possible past surrounding the old barn on Muddelty Creek. As my mind wonders into the future I can envision a young couple who exits a vehicle and joins hands as they step up to the footprint of where the old barn used to stand. They are just starting a life together. Her vision for the property is so vivid that as she stands in the spot where the living room will be that she knows the exact color of the walls. She describes in detail all her plans. His hands are skilled and experienced. He will bring her vision to life. The old barn that she fell in love with as a child will rise again as a rustic home in the country. There they will raise a family and fill the special place with and art.

Hello Friends and thank you for your support of my page. If you have enjoyed the photos or the writings please let me know by commenting and sharing my work on your social media. I also want to invite you to Follow Lloyds Lens Photography on Facebook

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Tonight’s Feature Image is titled “Forgotten Harvest 2” and is available for purchase by using the Contact Form on my website.(Note, I do not share or sale contact information. EVER)

4X6 is $5.00

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Some cropping may be necessary for certain sizes.

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