Beauty in the decline of industry

We live in the Piedmont Region of Virginia and North Carolina. Once, this area was a major source of economic progress for the United States. Especially textiles, furniture, and tobacco. For various reasons, our politicians helped drive those industries into partial or full decline. My purpose here is not to judge all that, it’s done. However, I do want to share some photos I made recently that show the remains of some of those industries, namely textile and furniture near where we live. Martinsville VA (textiles) and Bassett VA (furniture). I find black and white presentation to show best what I want. There is a bright 9colorful) side to all this, but I’ll make you wait until my next post for that.

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Wind on the Water

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I was out making photos this week at a rather sheltered spot on a very windy day, and decided on a whim while driving home, to make a quick stop at a favorite photo location of mine near home: the overlook at the Philpott Lake Visitor’s Center near Bassett, Virginia. When I got there this is what I saw. Strong, steady winds with gusts I estimated to be above 50 mph had whipped up whitecaps on the water’s surface, and it was almost turquoise in color. I guess a combination of dark clouds with shades of blue sky in between made it look that way. Gusty winds coming down slope off distant Blue Ridge Mountains blew my hat off (I caught it) and made it very difficult to hold my camera steady. Life is never boring when opportunities exist to see such beauty in nature. I’m sure glad I followed my instinct to stop by the lake on my way home. Here’s more of what I saw that day.

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Closed for the Winter

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A very popular location in SW Virginia at which to enjoy yourself is Fairy Stone State Park, with it’s swimming, kayaking, canoeing, and fishing lake, plus many amenities designed especially for younger children. Now, it’s closed for the winter. Heavy rains have muddied the normally clear blue, spring-fed water, while fallen leaves and other debris have cluttered usually clean, white sandy beaches.

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During warm summer days, there would be rental kayaks and canoes lined up along this shoreline, with fees being paid in the shed in the background. A different summer scene would be present below, with more rental boats lined up.

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Fishing in the lake, both from shore (below) and on the water, is very popular; however, in the midst of winter, the lake is mostly deserted. Pedal boats are currently stored under picnic shelters, waiting to again be put in the water in just a few more months.

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Also sitting idle are gymnastic facilities designed for young children. I’ve been there in the midst of summer and this specific place is packed with shouting, suntanned kids, while nearby parents watch happily.

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Distinct contrasts between seasons in many locations all across northern regions of America may appear rather sad and drab when not snow-covered. I don’t look at it that way at all. It’s just a promise of what lies ahead.

One Old Train Station

I love trains, especially those that thrived throughout the United States during the early-mid 20th Century. Rail lines went just about everywhere it seemed, connecting towns and cities large and small. Most train depots had a similar look. Long, single-storied brick and wooden structures that lay parallel to the train tracks. There was always a long wooden deck or concrete loading and unloading platform which felt the pulse of thousands of travelers for decades. Today, in locations such as Bassett Virginia, these iconic stations still exist, albeit in some decay, but are still being used for purposes other than train traffic, which has ceased. When I visited the Bassett train depot recently I was looking for something different to photograph, but with an objective to portray the aging and rustic nature of the facility. The town of Bassett now uses this building for a city market, where local goods are sold on weekends. It is also used for special community gatherings. While trains no longer pass by, people like me often do.

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