Countryside Morning

I’m really not sure why I was motivated recently to go buy gas for one of our cars before I ate breakfast, but I’m glad I did. The sky was clear and because of recent warmer than usual weather there was a lot of ground fog about. I remembered there was a dead end road behind the gas station where I was going. I’d driven down that road before and because of the morning fog, my mind envisioned possible photo compositions. After buying gas, I drove down that dead end road and this is what I saw.

Going past the barn I drove to the end of the road and looked up toward the low hills through a pathway in the brush that was inviting. However I decided just to record the scene and return home for a waiting breakfast, happy I’d been so motivated so early in the day.

Exploring a Rural Life

Living in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains has many advantages. Most important for me is it’s less populated and as such affords many opportunities to explore back roads and woods. Life is simple here compared to urban settings, and I often discover small farm “settlements” such as that in this photo. DSCF3617-Edit-Edit-Edit

Given this area of Virginia and North Carolina was once prime tobacco growing and harvesting territory, along my way down narrow roads I discover numerous abandoned tobacco drying sheds.

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Through the Trees

At 3000 feet elevation in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, I recently stopped at a popular scenic view … Lover’s Leap.

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The legend (per Virginia.org): “In the 1600’s, Indians inhabited the Blue Ridge Mountains. White settlers started arriving and began clearing land to farm. Conflict arose between the Indians and the settlers. Legend has it that the son of a settler saw the twinkle in the eyes of the Chief’s daughter, Morning Flower, and was immediately love-struck. The couple began to meet secretly and their love continued to grow. The young man and Indian maiden were threatened and shunned. With the beautiful rock and wildflowers as their backdrop, they jumped into the wild blue yonder ensuring they would be together forever. As you gaze out at Lover’s Leap, you can still see the evidence of their love in the beautiful view and hear them whisper in the cool evening breezes.”

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A Young Boy’s Joy

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.

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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.