This photo is one of my favorites. I’ve been there many times, alone and with others. It’s located near 3000 feet elevation along the Blue Ridgeway Parkway. Perhaps one reason why I enjoy going there are thoughts I have about what it would have been like to have lived as a young adventurous barefooted boy in the adjacent farm house of which these outbuildings are a part.
Close enough to sit on the small dock on a hot summer’s day, feet dangling in the cool water, cane-pole fishing for an elusive bass or catfish, and still hear my mother’s voice calling for me to come home … time to eat. Maybe her reward would be a string of fish already caught. I could swim in this pond as well, carefully watching for various critters hiding in the grass. Snakes maybe.
Not shown in the photo are nearby open fields, providing unlimited opportunities for me to explore. I would have been told my limits, however. A well known terrain feature is Buffalo Mountain, which can be seen for mlles. I might have been told to always keep “the Buffalo” in sight. In the winter my wandering would be less. And, I would be told to stay away from the frozen pond. It gets very cold at 3000 feet, but in this part of Virginia it can also warm well above freezing in winter, making for thin ice.
In my mind I sense itches caused by chiggers and mosquito bites. I hear frogs croaking and crickets clicking, bees buzzing and various song birds calling. I visualize Turkey Buzzards, Eagles and Hawks gliding along in circles high above, surrounded by puffy clouds and blue sky. Soft breezes with the scent of fresh cut hay tease my nose. Sneezes would be common as a result.
As a summer’s day ended, and I lay on a quilt pallet my mom would have placed for me on our screened-in porch so I could be cool, compared to my usual bedroom in an attic space, I’d pray for the next day to be as exciting as the one just ended.