The sedate granite outcrop sizzles with rivulets lingering from last Eve’s downpour finding shallow whirlpools and solution channels engraved by ten thousand Christmas mornings like this. Overcast; remarkable silver light. Reflections by hundreds follow the sun striving to break thru. Precious silence interrupted only by an occasional shutter click. I’m sure the romantic poet could easily dash off a few soaring lines for a soaring moment like this. Until then, it’s but a stocking stuffer. I was a good boy after all.
Arabia Mountain DeKalb County, Georgia Friday 25 December 2009
It’s amazing how much mischief can be created whilst the truck sits in the shop. Brakes, again. That’s a heavy truck sufferin’ from ten years of braking down rugged mountain backroads. So, I spent some time at home scanning slides from 1994. A photowalk in White Sulphur springs. A day of fog and rain. “Nearly crushed by a runaway double-wide weaving into my lane,” speaks the log. Parked at the Post Office and spent two rolls of Kodachrome 200, 36 exposures each.
White Sulphur Springs, Wva Greenbrier County Monday 6 June 1994
My name is Milton Page. For years Doctor Flowers has been my loyal fan and supporter – and maybe the only person to ever hear my pipe organ music outside the recording studio. Because of his consideration, understanding, caring, empathy, charity, emotional support and humanity it gives me the greatest pleasure to extend Merry Christmas and Holiday greetings to all Doctor Flowers visitors and loyal supporters. I know he wishes to thank each of you for your visits and comments over the past year. How it goes for the next is, well, a matter for speculation.
Once a year, sometimes twice, I return to John Furrow’s farm in Waiteville. Remembering we agreed, one past day, that I would return here for a spell to write my book. Photos. Impressions of rural backroads, steeped in sentiment, reveling in romanticism. Fantasies, you know, can be sustaining.
With a handful of county maps, backroads open wide. I’m never lost. However, serendipity and a few map symbols and icons alone cannot expose the richness of local heritage camouflaged in scenery and sprawling country side. On backroads, there are no tour guides. Or, seldom so. At Cherry Wva, I turned left on Chestnut Road believing this was headed away from the ‘historic’ church shown on the sign. Yet, three dirt road miles later there it was. The one-room log church built by Aaron Ruble in 1835. Still standing and occasionally used. That’s serendipity. A prime discovery by accident. While absorbed in pictures, a muddy zebra-striped Ford Bronco rattled down the road and eased to a stop behind me. There’s always a moment of uncertainty, wondering what’s next. Am I trespassing. What’s this stranger doing. Promptly I learned that folks here share a caretaker responsibility for Aaron’s church, and show it off proudly. I learned about the oil and natural gas wells that dot everyone’s property, the historic leases and how ‘fluids’ extraction is handled. I learned that, nearby, there’s an oil well still producing since the 1880’s. I learned, according to legend, there were producing wells older than Edwin Drake’s 1859 discovery in Titusville, Pa. “They were drilling for brine; oil was a nuisance. Back then, news didn’t travel very fast in Wirt County.” I learned that, at the bottom of the hill, I could find an old A.F.A.M Lodge built in 1904. “It’s hidden back off the road,” he explained.
I happened upon Gilmer County and Glenville in recent years camping in Cedar Creek State Park and taking a fine breakfast in town at the Common Place Restaurant. Each visit I noted that Glenville would be a good place to stay for 3 or 4 days while exploring surrounding counties like Lewis, Doddridge, Ritchie, Wirt, and Calhoun. This past October those log reminders became reality. It took three hectic days to get there, two in soaking rain and a third in a snow/rain mix. Then, for three special days the weather cleared with bright sun and temperatures from morning 30’s to afternoon 60’s. Each new county seemed to outdo the others; all very rural, ruggedly beautiful with farms, forested ridges and miles of challenging dirt roads. Herds of white tail deer calmly feasted on the tender greens that will become next years hay crop. So many I stopped counting. Triumphs of the moment. West Virginia heritage. Usually I post a trip map shortly after returning. This time, however, the Notorious VUNDO Trojan virus ate my computer, including the map making software, before the itinerary could be plotted. This posting celebrates the restoration.
Glenville, West Virginia Gilmer County 19-21 October 2009