Curves & Arches

Slow down!

I’ve been spending lots of time enjoying our 2014 trip down 300 miles of the Blueridge Mountain Parkway so when Cee announced her photography theme of curves and arches I was ready – I knew just the ones I wanted to use. The speed limit was 35 miles/hour on the Parkway but the road is so curvy that I dare anyone to go faster. It is a slow drive but not a problem because there is so much beauty to see along the way and interesting stops to make.

A double bonus: an arch & a curve

The Parkway was built as part of Roosevelt’s New Deal to get the U.S. out of the Great Depression and it helped many families get employment in Virginia and Nouth Carolina. It is an unusual National Park because it is basically a long road along the crest of the Blue Ridge Mountains, sometimes only incorporating the road and shoulders with private property blending in with property that was bought by the National Park Service at other places. It really feels like an outdoor museum of the culture and heritage of this region. In one section where property was purchased, The Park Service preserved and rebuilt sections of the narrow-gage rail system that once took lumber down the mountain to the saw mills.

Narrow-gage rails going over a little stream. A small water fall is to the left of the frame.
Mid-October is peak color season at upper elevations. I have always described the maple leaf as having points, but obviously the outer shape consists of curves.
I said, slow down please. It is a long way down on my side of the road.

Travel Theme: Trees

My ancestors came from the woods; I’m sure of this. Could it be what Carl Jung called the “collective unconscious,”  where my body and mind and soul was born ‘knowing’ the experiences of billions of people who lived in the woods of the Northern Hemisphere before me?

I grew up with trees and my favorite memories involve trees – making outlines of houses with oak leaves we raked at Grandma’s cottage on Portage Lake, swinging for hours in the swing under the sprawling oak tree at her home in the city, watching our children collect and chop fallen birch branches for a campfire in the state forest near Harrison Michigan.

I am most drawn to deciduous trees. I have been with a lover in the cool shade of a large, dense green canopy, then marveled when these same leaves loose their green to brilliant colors of red, yellow and orange. I have a lifetime of smiles from showers of falling leaves, while rustling through layers of leaves on my path. I have admired the strong, unique skeletal outlines of winter trees, standing firm against raging winds or gently catching falling snow.

My most exciting moments have been in Spring, when the trees that appear dead burst forth in brilliant shades of golden green and blossoms of white and pink.

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Springing Up the Mountain

This is my interpretation of Ailsa’s Travel Theme: Trees. I couldn’t resist.

Minimalist

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Ailsa’s Travel Theme this week is Minimalist. It seems that this hardware couldn’t be made more minimal as a way to keep a window shutter from banging in the wind. I photographed this at the Mabry Mill on the Blue Ridge Parkway.

The Landscape of Aging

parkway 300 003-2If you look at a few of my posts, you might be able to learn who I am – at least pretty close. I don’t have any hard evidence but I believe what catches our eye, what we find interesting, reflects our inner landscape. If I shared what my inner landscape looks like right now, you would think I was an adolescent trying to figure out who I am. My inner dialog has been asking questions like; who am I? and, how do people see me?parkway 300 098-2

I am sometimes very outspoken, standing out strong, being different than the people around me. I have always had strong convictions. As I have gotten older my convictions haven’t weakened but I have become aware of the the complexity of truth. I’m finding it is much more difficult to express what I believe because I have grown to know that beliefs about our worlds need to be supported with truths – whole truths. I still want to stand out, but I don’t want to become just another talking head – yelling over the other talking heads expressing opinions as if they were facts.

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Other times I recognize how much I blend in with the crowd, and I like it. It’s not because I want to be like everyone else, but it is a recognition of the diversity of personalities. I enjoy how the random combination of genes created us to be very different but also how we share similar core feelings and experiences. I have grown to appreciate and be comfortable in my relationships with people as I have become more confident in being the person I was created to be. Parkway 100 062-2

One of the characteristics of getting old is that we become more of who we have always been and most people become more complex. Because I have been open to new experiences, I continue to develop new aspects of my personality.

If I were to pick a food that best reflects my personality it would be a well-made vegetable soup. Like all the flavors blending together in the soup, I have developed a rich blend of characteristics. I’m complex, but with nothing hidden. When we lean over that pot of soup we smell the complex aromas but when we give it a stir we understand the nature of the broth; we see all the ingredients. How fun it is to experience how different combinations of ingredients creates unique tastes. It is a simple dish, and with simple variations it has nourished people since fire was harnessed for cooking.

I like being both simple and complex. I like being a unique individual but also enjoy being part of something bigger. I like being who I am but am excited when I feel change happening. The change I am experiencing now seems to be finding a new voice born of wisdom. Would you like to join me around the table for a bowl of soup and stimulating conversation? I’m confident we will all be nurtured.

(My thoughts today were stimulated by these photographs I took on our travels down the Blue Ridge Parkway in Fall 2014.)