The gently babbling water flows over the rocks. In the shallow pools small fish dart under cover as my shadow crosses in front of them. Dragonflies and Damselflies zip around and occasionally hover. A small crayfish crawls from one pool to another. Somewhere behind me the distinct sounds of a woodpecker hammering away at an old snag echoes through the mountains.
I step carefully as I approached the spot where I will place my tripod. I am in a public park but the copperheads don’t understand that everyone is welcomed here and I’d rather not suffer another bite. Satisfied that I’m not disturbing a sleeping serpent, I begin to set up my camera. The twin falls of Glade Creek are one of our most popular places. They’re certainly not the highest falls in West Virginia but there’s something about the perfect symmetry that’s irresistible. The sun is high in sky and I want the water to come out nice and silky so I make the appropriate adjustments and set the timer hoping that the children playing nearby can stay out frame for just a few more seconds. This was ten years ago and it was one of my first with a real camera. The result is still one of my favorite images today.
Today is a busy day on the Kanawha River. The coal barges were all over the water moving massive amounts of coal up and down the river. The little tug in tonight’s feature image was pushing three barges and all three are the size of office buildings. The ones here are riding high on the water which means that they are empty but I’ve seen these little boats move full barges and more than three of them at once. I’m told that the men who work the river live on the boat for months at a time and are home for a couple of weeks before embarking on another journey. In a previous post I remarked that electricity is delivered by train but it travels by boats too! It impressive to see the little tugs at work moving huge amounts of mass with ease. And that brings me to the point of tonight’s post. Never judge anyone by their size. Especially yourself. When a person pushes their limits they might fail the first time. And the second and third and so on. But eventually something happens and the weight budges. That’s when you really dig in and push with all your might. Once the weight is moving it’s easy to keep it moving. Once it’s been done it’s easier to do it again. And it’s all in the heart. Not the muscle but the spirit. The core of our being that empowers us to never give up. What’s more is when two tugs team up and work in synchronicity. They don’t just move twice as much but three or maybe even four times the mass. Like the little tugs we are capable literally moving mountains when we’re equally yoked. Two people who are in sync compound their strengths. They can cheer each other on and keep that spirit energized. I was encouraged to watch the little tugs at work today and I hope you are too.
Tonight’s image is the water wheel of the Glade Creek Grist Mill at Babcock State Park. I took the picture several years ago when I was interested in creating a micro-hydro power plant for my home. My plan was to study pictures of water wheels and eventually make something that I could use to run the lights during an outage. While the plans for an energy independent home never manifested I learned a lot about the difference between working with God’s creation and working against it. Providence is always there waiting for us but we have to recognize it and figure out how to take advantage of it. For a wheel like the one here there has to be enough water above the wheel to move the heavy stones that grind the grains into flour. This means that the mill has to be in just the right spot and the water has to be channeled. Debris has to be filtered out to avoid damage to the wheel. The spot has to be on a stable foundation. And that’s just the beginning. Sometimes when we’re praying and searching for God to fill a need in our lives we expect Him to drop the answers in our lap fully assembled and all tied up with a pretty bow. That can happen but more often than not God provides the components and we have to recognize them and then make use of them. The water, the stones, the trees that became the wood and even the physics that govern the use were all in existence long before the mill was created to fill the needs and feed the people. When we are praying for God to make a way it’s likely that He’s already made a provision if we can just figure out how to put it together.
I love the old Glade Creek Grist Mill at Babcock State Park in West Virginia. I have been told that it’s the most photographed mill in North America. It always has an awesome scene to capture no matter what the season. The mill was actually built from the recovered pieces of other mills that had shut down. West Virginia is known for its coal mining but we have a lot to offer in green energy too. Our rivers and streams are in perpetual motion and capable doing a lot of work. This mill is still operating seasonally and grinds grain but others in the past milled lumber for our timber industry.
This image was taken last Sunday prior to meeting with a client for portraits. (Yes, I do portraits too 😁 anyone in southern West Virginia that is interested in portraits can contact me either on my website contact page or message me on Facebook)