Summer days were made for enjoying the sunshine. It’s in our nature to want to take part in the simple pleasures that come with Summer.
As I sat down at the outside break table on my day job a living sapphire slipped across my field of vision. The blue dancer lived up to her name as she flew through the yard. Her rhythmic gymnastics in the air rivaled anything seen on stage. As a child dragonflies held an air of something magical happening before my very eyes. In all the books and websites about fossils is a picture of dragonfly with a wingspan of around two feet! As impressive as the size is the fossils that I’ve seen give no insight as to the amazing colors that modern day dragonflies show. Greens and blues and even bright red! They all seem to shine and glimmer in the light.
The blue dancer paused only for a moment on the leaf before the music that was bound up on spirit called her back into the air. I enjoyed the performance for a few minutes and soon my time in the sun was up. The blue dancer seemed to escort me back to the door as left. She’s still around. I’ve seen her almost every day since performing her routine in the sun.
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As summer season comes to a close in the Appalachian Mountains it’s important to enjoy the sunshine as often as possible. Already the morning air is beginning to feel crisp and cool. As we draw nearer to September the afternoon is generally warm but without the oppressive humidity of July and early August. It’s a great time for a walking some ignored backroad or forest path. Occasionally I meet a fitness walker who’s just trying burn off a few extra scoops of ice cream, but I’m here simply to decompress from the day. I turn off the music and podcasts. Let my Facebook notices wait a bit and keep an eye towards the roadsides. I’m looking for anything interesting to catch in my lens. The little tortoise shell butterflies dance and play in sunbeams as I walked. The one in my feature image circles around my head a few times as if to say “Look at me! Look at me!” And begins a game of catch me if you can. First it lands on some golden rod and I step over for shot. Before I can focus it flutters over to an elderberry bush on the opposite side of road. Then it’s off to explore some red clover. I’m trying to keep it in frame and getting a better workout than the fitness walker who giggled slightly as she passed. Finally the little guy comes to rest on the lespedeza and unfolds it’s beautiful wings for me. Who needs a personal trainer when mother nature is so playful?
Summer should be spent on or around boats. Summerville Lake in West Virginia is a great place to be a teenager with a boat. It was just a little day cruiser with a small cabin but it was an adventure machine. We did the usual stuff with it. Fishing and white I never mastered the art of water skiing we did have a knee board that was a lot of fun. Perhaps the most interesting knee board story would be the time I didn’t quite get my shorts properly secured. The way to start off on a knee board is in the prone position. Dad hit the throttle and the boat was running particularly well that day. Yup, pulled me right out of my swim trunks on a crowded lake! I dove as deep and as fast as I could. I could almost touch them but I was running out of air and had to surface. Head only of course. I spent the rest of the day wearing a brightly coloured towel as a loincloth and in fear of breeze created by a boat at full throttle. Most of the time we just puttered up river (The Gauley River runs underneath the lake.) Into one of coves and when the fishing wasn’t really all that great we’d have a swim. Camping isn’t allowed on the shore except in designated areas but you can anchor off shore and spend the night on your boat. One morning we was cruising out to a quiet spot on the lake and encountered a lady who was totally freaking out. We thought maybe she was in trouble so we pulled along side their boat to offer assistance. She produced a broken fishing rod. A large one similar to the ones used to fish the shore of the ocean. The rod was broken at the base and the hook was pulled out straight. She had experienced one of the monster catfish from the very bottom of the lake. The Department of Natural Resources maintains that these unnaturally large fish do not exist but we have certified Scuba Divers who will not dive Summersville Lake after spotting one. Life on Summersville Lake is an awesome experience. I hope to see you there sometime and be sure to bring good strong fishing tackle. You might be the one who pulls a monster out of one of submerged caves.
Summer is definitely in full swing in West Virginia. The smell of campfires and the sound of treefrogs are filling the evening air. The best thing about a campfire is the conversation that abounds as friends and family come together. Sometimes in the back of my warped imagination I can hear cave parents fussing with their cave kids that they will never be successful in life if they don’t stop sitting around the campfire all day. “You’re never going to be able to provide for your tribe if if you don’t stop playing in the fire and go out to learn how to be a hunter gatherer ! Says papa caveman. That child probably grew up to be the first blacksmith or Goldsmith. 😉 But I digress. The important thing was that the campfire was the center activities for untold millenia. It was the original social media. Charcoal from the fire was used to create artworks on cave walls and solidify the record of the stories told at the fire pit. Now that I think of it I have to wonder if any of those cave drawings are actually the first meme? You see, I don’t believe that humanity has really changed all that much since the beginning . Yes, our technology is more sophisticated and that has lead to more opportunities but our basic needs and drives are still the same . Come to think of it, we’re all not so different from each other today. Yes we have different styles and solutions to problems but it’s all problems that stem from the same basic needs. The internet is really just a very sophisticated campfire which we gather around to share stories and art. And hopefully make a friend or two.
Along with tonight post I do have some housekeeping to address. I have returned from to my Appalachian Mountains from a week at Oak Island North Carolina and I’m still selecting and editing the photos. If you’ve reached this article on Facebook the odds are that you clicked on a link that I have shared to one of the groups that have graciously allowed me to share to. Most of the time these groups are about life in Appalachia or specifically West Virginia. Because my Beach photos don’t really follow the theme of these groups you will only be able to see them from my Business page.
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I really enjoy it when a photo brings up such a vivid memory. The field of little yellow flowers was alive with the humming of millions of bees. The warm humid air was filled with the magical fragrance of wild mints. I followed the bees from flower to flower while enjoying the occasional butterfly floating around in the warm breeze. I lost track of time in this place. I spent a few hours just absorbing the peace and presence of God.
Okay dear readers. I know that my posts have been a little on the short side over the past few days and there’s a reason. On very rare occasions I leave my beloved Appalachian Mountains and get to do a little traveling. I have brought my lens to the coast and have spent most of time catching up on some deep rejuvenating rest and capturing the spirit of the destination in my lens. At the end of my stay I’ll select the best from what I’ve captured and post them. I’ll probably do this as a slide show first and then use the individual images as inspiration hits.
North America is under a heat wave today. Everyone is retreating to shady spots or cooling off in one of the lakes and rivers. It’s been a long time since I was able to spend all day in Summerville Lake. On days like today I wouldn’t spend any more time on the surface than was needed to take the next breath. There was no scuba gear and very seldom did we even use snorkels. We were skin divers. When it’s 90 degrees Fahrenheit (32C) there’s nothing like the cool lake bottom. I could only go down about 10 feet or so but that was enough to escape being baked in the sun. I was one of those people who could open his eyes under water and still see pretty well. Occasionally I would find an old fishing lure with the hooks rusted away or a water toy of some kind that was left behind. Out beyond the buoys that marked the swimming area the boats would idle by. Under water the screws make a clicking noise and I got to a point where I could listen to the clicks and gauge how far away the boat was. As I got older I would swim from one side of the lake to the other once more surfacing only to take a breath. Sometimes a small fish would be curious about the stranger in the water and nip the hair on my legs. We would tease each other that the piranha were hungry. Perhaps at some point I can afford an underwater camera and I’ll be able to take you with me on a swim through the lake.