The cold rain falls from the darkened sky as the big blue truck takes me on my daily trek out of the mountains and into our capital city of Charleston West Virginia. The Carpenters had a valid point. Rainy days and Mondays are less than a joy in modern life. Rainy Mondays can be the worst. The rain collected on the windshield while I was having fuel pumped and there it was. A bright spot on my cold rainy Monday. I watched as the rain tried to wash away my bright spot but it only grew larger. In fact it continued to grow larger and brighter until I had enough to focus on and I captured it. I quickly pulled up the image and quickly edited for composition and brother the color and lighting back to what my eyes saw and held onto my bright spot all day. I made it the wallpaper on my phone and workstation at my day job. I focused on the bright spot all day and by afternoon the rain stopped.
Dark days are going to come. There’s no avoiding it. Rain is necessary to fill the aquifers that we draw from in the heat of the Summer. But I’m betting that if you look closely during the rain you’ll find a bright spot that refuses to be washed away. If you can focus on it then it will carry you through the dark times.
Shout out to Brown’s Service Station of Belva West Virginia for being a genuine full service gas station and coming out to operate the fuel pump no matter what the weather is.
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The darkened sky hangs ominously overhead as a chilled wind races across the ridges. I can already smell the rain in the damp air. I quicken my pace as the first few drops begin to change the color of the pavement. The old gnarly sweet gum tree seems to reach out to offer shelter for those who pass by it’s grounds. It has stood here on this windy ridge for hundreds of years and witnessed the passing of many generations. There was a time when it was not so tall and strong. A time when the Shawnee hunting parties passed silently by in moccasins. Then came the lumberjacks with axes and saws. But the gum tree was too twisted and crooked for their needs. Then came the farmers whose cattle rested under its boughs. Finally, a workman came with transits and plumbs and cement. With the skills of an architect and the heart of a poet. He fell in love with the knots and twists in the wood. This ancient and weathered tree would be a centerpiece of his creation in the park. As the people came and admired the old tree it felt a new sense of purpose and loved them back. Today it stands on the rim of the New River Gorge and welcomes all who pass down the trail. Including a photographer who sheltered from the rain a few days ago and imagined it’s story. In your travels through the heart of West Virginia take a few minutes to view and enjoy the New River Gorge Bridge at the little park just outside of Fayetteville and stretch your legs under the friendly old sweet gum tree in the park.
There are days that are absolutely awesome. The birds are singing, the clouds are big and puffy, and sun is shining. A balmy breeze rushes through and seems to give you a hug as it passes on beautiful days like that. Warm summer days are days that are custom made for creating memories. A quick trip to the park or the lake and nothing to do except be with a loved one and hold hands while taking a leisurely stroll. I wouldn’t need a camera to have the image of such a day forever in my heart.
But, today is definitely not one of those days. Today we have a visitor to our wild Wonderful West Virginia. The the last tropical storm to make landfall on the Atlantic coast has decided that we need to enjoy it’s presence. The wind has been relatively quiet but the rain bands have pushed their way past the natural barrier of the Blue Ridge Mountains and are planning a few days of fun. In truth it means that those who have come to enjoy the white water rafting and kayaking will have a great time with our rivers swollen from the rain. It’s something that happens quite often this time of year. The sky is dark and foreboding and for a while every stream coming off the mountain is a miniature river. These are the days when I take the sunshine out of its bottle in the form of a photo. I’m instantly drawn back into that perfect sunny day. I can even smell the dinner being made on a grill.
We can’t expect that every day will be awesome. Rain has to fall and like everything else there will be days when we have more than we need at the moment. That’s life. On other days we’ll see more than out share of beautiful weather. My whole life I’ve been told to look on the bright side. As I’ve grown I’ve discovered that looking on the bright side is much easier when you carry the sunshine inside of you.