The small Virginia Pine stands out in a sea of Broomsedge. The open ridge line invites a harsh wind on most days. The winter here in this spot is ruled by freezing rain as well as blizzards. The wind has come through with enough rage to shake my big blue truck from side to side and knock down the power lines but still the crooked little Virginia Pine continues to flourish. I have watched it for several years now and it’s growing stronger with each storm. While it’s obvious that wind shake can damage trees it’s also true that a certain amount of wind is necessary for the trees to grow strong. If the tree isn’t shaken as it grows it never develops the mechanisms to deal with storms.
Often in our spiritual life we become distraught when troubles come and our faith is tested. But, it’s in these challenges that our strength develops to our full potential. Without them we never develop the coping mechanism that that gives us the strength to survive the storms.
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The end of the day arrives at last. As the last rays of natural light floods the Kanawha valley the day shift workers climb into their vehicles and head home. Along the way dinner is being prepared and sometimes the aroma wafts onto road. Children and pets rush out to greet the homecommers. The ties and work boots are abandoned with exuberance and those comfortable pants with the elastic band are picked up along with old tee shirt that feels like a welcoming hug. The say that the clothes make the man. If that’s true then taking your work clothes off is like taking off the person who you have to be and becoming who you are again. As I look at the feature image and see the parked train and the cars headed home it’s a great metaphor for the end of the workday and a little time for real life.
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. Please also consider following Lloyds Lens Photography on Facebook. If you don’t want to miss a post then you can sign up for email alerts on my website at the bottom of the Welcome Page.
Tonight’s Feature Image is titled “Paused” and is available for purchase by contacting me on Facebook or by using the Contact Form on my website.
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The water spills softly over the old stone wall to replenish the pool at the bottom. The pool fills and spills into the Kanawha River. The peaceful flow of the water invokes the memories of a simpler time. A time before the nearby road existed and a weary soul could stop and recharge his spirit in the tranquility of the falls. Just to right of the falls is a cave that was carved out by an earlier flow. Perhaps a cool place to sit down and enjoy a lunch break out of the sun. I imagine the traveler refilling his canteen in the falls as he allows the water to wash over him to remove the dust of the trail. After he is well rested he gathers his personal equipment and continues his journey down river. There’s no pressure to be there by a certain time. He’ll be there when he gets there. His life is full of living and he makes the most of every moment of every day as God intended.
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The clean smell of the rain hangs in the air as I pull into the little parking lot. Just crossing the threshold of foot bridge transports me to another world. A primal place with gigantic trees and a thick mat of ferns where the small things live. A tree frog drones out it’s high pitched song calling for his love.
Tread carefully on the muddy pathway to the base of the falls. The trail shows that someone who passed through earlier left their mark on the pathway. A mark that leads to an unexpected bath in the knee deep stream below. Near the base of the falls large flat rocks catch only a fraction of an inch of the water flowing through the mountains. Butterflies play in the air as the cascade fills this natural cathedral with a light mist. Small fish dart around in the highly oxygenated water. Most of the small stones are blown out by the force of the water but the ones caught in crevices are smooth and clean. I could really spend all day here just breathing in the charged air.
But there’s a set of sad eyes and wagging tail who needs to be walked soon. As so, fully refreshed from the rich environment beneath Cathedral Falls I began to pick my path back to my big blue truck and head home.
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I don’t pretend to know how many miles of roads there are in the world. I’m pretty sure that it’s a lot. Highways and byways, dirt roads are jeep trails stretch out like an intricate web across the globe. Some roads are major interstate highways and others can only be traveled by foot. And oh the places where they can take you! There are large metropolitan cities with amazing architecture. Glass and steel and concrete comes together in an artful pentacle that pierces the heavens! I’ve been on roads that go under the mountains and even under the very sea itself! I pass by roads every day and wonder where they end or, even if they do end at all. But no matter how far you travel or what wonders your eyes drink in there’s one road that’s the most welcomed of all of them. This one road will take you to a place where you are the most content. It’s a special road that ends in a different place for each of us. In case you haven’t guessed, it’s the road that brings you home. No matter how rocky or how many twists and turns and no matter how high the hills that you have to climb are the road home will be the one most eagerly traveled. An old Irish blessing goes…
May the road rise to meet you.
May the wind be always at your back.
May the rains fall softly on your fields.
And, until we meet again may God hold you gently in the palm of his hand.
Tonight’s blog post is dedicated to my fellow West Virginians who are living out of state and being evacuated from the path of Hurricane Florence.
Gently floating on the Kanawha River just above Kanawha Falls the fishermen works his line. I was a bit envious when I spotted him peacefully maneuvering his one man craft across the river. He seemed to be so free. The morning mists were cascading down the mountains and spilling out over the falls as he casts out and slowly retrieves the bait. The ducks on my side of the river slyly slip into the water unsure about the big blue truck that came to an abrupt halt near their perches. As I scan the water a trail of bubbles break the surface. That’s the tell tale sign of big mud turtle lumbering on the bottom. With my camera in one hand and my ever present coffee in the other I step out of the truck to enjoy nature for a few minutes and thank God for the new day. Silently, I wish the fisherman luck as I preserve the peaceful scene in my lens. The ticking of my internal clock urges me to resume my daily commute. The engine purrs and I check the mirror as I pull out taking the peaceful feeling with me as I drive away.
It’s not easy to step out onto the edge. There’s something about that place if transition from one state of being to the next that really gets our attention. We get butterflies in our stomachs and our knees begin to tremble. We can feel our hearts pounding as adrenaline surges through our veins. That’s the feeling I would have during a repelling exercise or leaping from the tall cliffs into the water. In my young mind I knew that this is what it felt like to fly. Fear, excitement and recklessness all come together to form the experience. When I was a kid I had the opportunity to spend some one on one time with some of the Blue Angels flight team and I like the way one of the pilots described this feeling. He said that “There’s no difference between the thrill of flying and the fear of falling.” His point was that it’s in overcoming your desire to remain comfortable with your circumstances that we become more than we was yesterday.
It doesn’t have to be piloting the latest and hottest high performance jet at beyond the speed of sound. It doesn’t even have to be leaping into water or sliding down a cliff on a rope. (In fact especially not the cliff in the feature image. There’s no water under the rocks here and it’s not a legal place to repell from.) It could be as simple as deciding to strike up a conversation with that person who you’re interested in or starting a blog where you share your deepest thoughts with the world. Whatever it is know that when you overcome that shaky feeling that this is what it’s like to fly.