Daydreams Of A Legend

About tonight’s feature image, this is the same clump of willow trees that I have been photographing in different seasons for almost a year. I processed several versions of the photos but decided that the blue of the selenium filter gave the best feeling of a cold winter day. The image title is simply “The Wading Willows In January“.

The spray from Kanawha Falls seems to freeze in the air on this cold January morning. The wading willows seem to be wandering out of the mists as if they are on their way back to shore. The scene takes on an otherworldly feel that’s right out of Tolkien’s Middle Earth. If not for the soft whine of the turbines belonging to the hydroelectric dam it would be easy to forget that Route 60 was just a few steps away. Still, I have to wonder if there’s a monster lurking in the icy depths below. Not some “Devil Fish” of folklore with tenticals such but a real world monster. Every body of water has a legendary fish that’s more than just the one that got away. In my area it’s usually a catfish that’s large enough to swallow a man whole that live at the base of dams and bridges. Occasionally someone sees a V shape in the water or spots one near the surface. I’ve met at least one person who showed me an expensive fishing pole designed for fishing the ocean surf that was snapped off at the base and the hook was pulled out straight. They say that when the water is up that the really big ones come looking for new hunting grounds around the stumps and logs that are inaccessible otherwise. It would be great to rig up a big fishing pole with just the right bait on a day like this. Perhaps I could build a small fire to keep warm and settle the monster catfish issue once and for all. However, the real world need to be on time for my day job pulls me away from the quest and the really big one gets away again.

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Tracking People And Making Decisions

Not that long ago I was fascinated with Tom Brown Jr and his books on tracking. His reputation in the wilderness survival community is unparalleled. He’s actually been a consultant for several Hollywood Movies and it’s been said that he can track your footsteps across a bare concrete floor and tell you what kind of mood you was in when you passed through. I was never anywhere near that good but even today I have a tendency to notice footprints and try to figure out what was happening when the tracks were made. People will often say that they talk with their hands meaning that they gesture a lot but believe it or not we also talk with our feet too. It’s a little more subtle but it’s there in one degree or another. For example, a person deep in thought might have a tendency to move his/her feet in semi-circles as if mapping out their options. As a lefthander I normally take longer strides with my left leg than I do my right. There’s a whole discipline of forensics dedicated footprints.

On a more philosophical note, I sometimes wonder what I would learn about myself if I look into the past and read my own tracks at key moments in my life. Especially those moments when I “built experience” ( AKA made the wrong decision). I’m willing to bet that I would see evidence of talking myself out of what I knew was the right choices. Search & Rescue trackers will often comment that they could tell that a person paused for an extended period facing the right path before turning and heading into danger. We can only see so far into the past but we can be active observers in the present. I don’t think it’s essential to base our decisions on our foot placement but if I catch myself hesitating towards a particular choice I know that I should probably investigate that choice a little closer before walking away from it. And of course ask myself if I’m just trying to take the easy way out for the wrong reasons.

The footprints in the feature image are not mine. They belong to a young lady who I stumbled upon just enjoying Cane Branch that feeds Cathedral Falls in Gauley Bridge. What do I think that her footprints say? They say “This a great place to enjoy life!”

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Making Time Away From Clocks

As I make my way down the long wooden staircase that leads to the base of the falls I’m mentally transported to a different world. A place where there are no time cards. A world where the only clock is the arch of the sun and the day belongs to the one who lives in it. That’s really the trick isn’t it? To have a little more life in the day? As the water flows over the rocks at Blackwater Falls the roar of cascade overtakes the noisy parking lot on the canyon rim and the modern world is pushed farther away. It’s easy to see why the ancient world explained creation as being made from only four elements of Earth (The stone cliffs), Wind (The breeze coming off of the falls), Fire (The warm sun beaming down) and Water ( The river itself). These things were the most powerful forces in existence outside of God himself. I recently read a headline that said that doctors in Scotland were now prescribing exposure to nature as a medicine. I definitely concur with them. God in all of his love and wisdom created a perfect world for his children. Even in it’s current fallen state it still exists to nurture and sustain his children. It stands to reason that in order to be healthy we need a certain amount of unspoiled nature in our lives.

Once more I’m fully invigorated by my time out from the world of ticking clocks and constant bombardment of ads on T.V. and whatever other media is encountered in the modern era and it’s time to make my way back up the mountain.

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A Winter’s Refreshing At Cathedral Falls

As the evening sun begins to retreat behind the mountains it grants one last gaze into the cove at the foot of Gauley Mountain. The soft light spreads through the forest floor as wood and stone are bathed in the cascade of Cathedral Falls. The oxygen charged air within the natural cathedral enhances the sense of peace as I cross the wooden footbridge. Time itself seems to slow to a halt as the elements of nature coalesce into my frame. It’s been said that God first set the word of His testimony into nature. I believe that is true because as I look at the beauty He created for us to live in his love for us is written on every stone, carved into every tree, bound into every drop of water and energized by every ray of light. With my spirit renewed in this natural sanctuary it’s time to replace the cap on my lens and return to the big blue truck and head home.

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Memories Of The Hay Fields

When I was very young putting up hay was a way for most young men to make a little spending money. A person could drive through the country at certain times of the year and the fields were lined from one end to the other with rows and rows of square bales of hay. The farmers would be seen with huge stacks of perfectly compressed blocks of cut and dried grasses of various types towering over tractors or pickup trucks on their way to a barn. It wasn’t really uncommon to a couple of the older boys riding on top of the stack as the vehicle drifted carefully across the fields while two more boys tossed more bales up to add to the stack. The unloading process was just as laborious with the boys on top of the stack tossing the bales back down or directly into the barn for storage.

Sometime in the late 70s or early 80s I started seeing the large round bales like you see in the feature image. My grandfather began remarking on how his poor cows wouldn’t be able to have a square meal. The iconic large stack of square bales disappeared into the past. ( I’m sure that there’s still some around however I haven’t seen it for decades). The crew of three or four teenage boys was replaced by a tractor with a fork lift attachment. The round bales turned out to be a be a better deal for the farmer because of the labor costs but every time I see the round bales I get nostalgic for the view of acres and acres perfectly lined up rectangular blocks on contour with the landscape.

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A Matter Of Perspective

The Kanawha River is often turbulent in this spot. There’s days when it climbs up out of it’s banks and threatens to wash away everything and we would be powerless to stop it. But every other day it’s calm and peaceful. Most days it’s a great place to sit down and enjoy life. You can fish or if you’re observant you might spot a bald eagle or an Osprey in this spot. In the Spring violets dot the landscape with blues, purples, reds and yellows. The songbirds are abundant here as well. As I look towards the distant shore beyond the falls it’s hard to think about the raging waters that have been here and will come again. It would be easy to look at the little park at Kanawha Falls (or any other body of water) and live in fear of the next stormy day and the rage of nature but then we would miss the beauty on the good days. Life is all about perspectives. We can focus on the good times or the hard times. Both are going to be present. But if we are focused only on the hard times will miss out on beautiful times in between the storms.

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Homebound

The road home can be a steep climb. Sometimes there’s unexpected twists and turns. Some days the journey is through wind and rain or ice and snow. Some days are full of warm sunshine and the trees are full of singing birds. The journey home can be long. Blessed is the one who is joined by companions who encourage you to continue on. Even if they can’t travel along beside you every day. The warm smile in greeting and the voice that speaks gentle words of encouragement was a greater gift than you ever knew. It shouldn’t come as a shock that you made it home first. You should know that those encouraging words will echo in my memory until the day that I also approach that gate that marks the end of the journey. I won’t be surprised to see your smile or listen to the excitement in your voice as the gate opens up to welcome us home.

In honor of Billy. I’ll see you when I get home too.

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 “Homebound” and is available for purchase by usingthe Contact Form on my website. ( just click on the the bell below)

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