Sunday, July 12, 2015

Appalachian Dreamin'

I love driving.  If it be a car, golf cart, or even a bicycle.  So naturally, I enjoy long drives.  The chance to sit back and let the mind wonder does numbers for the soul.  But I have this notion that If I am to find beauty I must travel west.  The reasons are a moot point but the principle I take to heart.  Any time I have to travel going east I get a bit demoralize to a certain extreme.  I rather chase the sun than race toward the dark of night.  Well, I found myself driving east this past week from Indiana to New Jersey, a commute that is quickly becoming regular for me.  The only part of the drive I usually look forward to is driving in the hills of Pennsylvania.  The allure of those Appalachian hills holler adventure and wanderlust to me.  I always imagine myself hiking to the summit of those ridges and watching the sun fade over the edge of the world. Indeed it’s a romantic idea but more realistically simple a daydream.
            As soon as I hit the Ohio/Pennsylvania state line, dark clouds covered the horizon.  Big heavy raindrops soon exploded across my windshield. I never enjoy driving in the rain, but big raindrops normally mean a quick downpour.  Thankful this was the case.  The rain stopped and found myself being engulfed in heavenly bliss.  Big thunderheads, rainbows, fog, and golden beams of sun filled the huge sky.  I did my best to stay on the road as I use my iphone to take a few quick shots. Click.  As I put my phone back down all I did was keep dreaming of those Appalachian adventures. 

 "I may have not been chasing the sun, but I certainly was in the front row of the retreating light."

Sunday, June 7, 2015

US Center Chapel

At the exact geographic center of the 48 contiguous states sits a monument.  Now this monument is not all that special.  In fact, the memorial is rather forgettable.  The landscape is the same as the last one hundred miles and seems to repeat itself for hundreds more.  The only thing special around this park is its location.  And that itself is a bit questionable as being label “special”.  But as I was driving across Kansas, I made a point to stop literality in the middle of nowhere. 

As I stepped out of my truck, I was greeted by those famous strong westerly winds of Kansas.  While I explored the minute “park”, one child sized building caught my eye.  A little white chapel no bigger than an average backyard shed.  The chapel was flanked by a couple park benchs, two wind battered trees, and a lonely handrail. 

As I poked my head inside, I found a few empty chairs, an open bible on a pulpit, a guest registry, and a painted outline of the US with a wooden cross in the middle.  Seemed like a good photo, so I pulled my camera up to eye adjusted a few settings. Click. 

Now I would love to tell you that the bible was open to verse that inspired me but to be frank, I do not know if I even looked at it.  I cannot recall, but reflecting on the few photos I took on that late spring day something clicked.  If the middle of nowhere somebody built this little chapel, why you ask?  I cannot say for sure.  I would guess that the people or person who built the chapel wanted to share something they felt of importance to visitors.  What I saw was a metaphor.  In the mist of these long, lonely, windy plains is a place where some people find peace.  I think it is a reminder no matter where we find ourselves in life we can always find our own little chapel.  Inside that chapel sits a book on a pulpit and inside that book holds something we may need.  One just needs to read it to find out.

Monday, April 6, 2015

a bale of turtles

As April rolls around each year, I cannot but wait for spring to come.  Typically, spring in Indiana is short.  You go from winter snow to summer heat overnight. But before the days of nonsensical summer heat begin, one finds himself enjoying a nice spring day.  A day filled with big clouds, a welcoming sunny, and with a hint of wind across the treetops.  I found myself  a couple years ago, on a day like this.  Spring was flirting with those glances of better days to come.  Since I had no plans for they day I decide to visit a local wildlife preserve in the next county over.  As a kid, my grandfather once took me to the park to watch the migration of sandhill cranes.  I remember watching hundreds upon hundreds of these redhead birds across a wild open field.  In my mind I recall the perfect golden hour light of golden beams embrace the land.  I’m not sure how old I was, must have been eight or nine.  But regardless it left a impression on my life.  One I look back to with delight.    My grandfather was a man who I had the upmost respect and look to as my hero.  Years later after his passing, I learned for a time he worked at this county park building roads and such during the early 40s.  I found it a bit ironic that in his early 20s he built this, and in my early 20s I would be enjoying it.


So I found myself driving down a one land dirt road toward a trail head.  Along the way I interrupted a few mallard ducks, handful of turtles, and a large company of birds.  All whom were enjoying the peace and tranquility of a nice spring day.   I parked my car near a boat ramp and with camera in hand started to take a hike.  Not before too long, I came across a bale of turtles soaking in the sun on a log.  Click.  I snapped a few shots before the turtles had enough of me and jumped back into the cold dark water.  After watching them attempting to hide I went back to my hike.  I spent some time walking around and taking in the fresh air.  Most of the walk I had my grandpa on my mind.  I wish I could of taken that hike with him.  But I’m sure he was smiling down on me from above on that rare spring day.

Enjoying a nice spring day is not a hard thing to do, the problems lies in the situation.  Just like the brief moments of watching the turtles soak in the sun, its over before you know it.