Emery Hoke coasted his pickup to an easy stop beside me. “When I saw you I knew exactly what you were doing,” he cheerfully asserted from the window, “I like to take pictures like that.“ Obviously, he knew the picture – a really cool weathered shed nestled against a November hillside. Puffy white clouds posing overhead. Regrettably, somebody recently stole Emery’s camera. So, I’m copying several photos from that morning to a disk which should appear in his stocking by Christmas.
Two and a half miles south of Brandywine, near Old Probst Church, this stunning apparition interrupted an otherwise absorbing cruise along the Potomac River. Earth tones dominate backroads photography. Reticent grays and tans. Brown and subdued rusts. An occasional yellow, a streak of gold. Greens. And, more greens. This Andrew Wyeth shed on steroids, an infinity’s distance from the digital universe, magnificent reds and dashing stonework, flushed me with admiration. It’s still a hot number.
Peters Mountain runs for miles between Virginia and West Virginia down around Peterstown, Pearisburg, and Paint Bank. A sharply defined linear ridge, it appears way over there on one horizon and disappears way over there on the other while extending an irresistible invitation to approach, to touch, to climb and cross for deserts on the other side. Crossing routes are few however, sometimes rough, and far between which may account for its palpable sense of history and frontier heritage. This red shed, shot while facing away from the mountain, can be seen along County Road 15 connecting Gap Mills and Second Creek on the western side to Waiteville and Potts Creek on the east. Only recently paved, I've forged this crossing many times always tempted to turn right around and cross again. Especially when my mind is alive, my heart is full, and the light is sweet.
Mr. Sparks and his wife arrived home and caught me, tripod erect, in their front yard. Peekin' thru my lens. A strange sight indeed. They were very nice about it. In fact, everybody seems to love this barn and stop here for pictures. Isn't that kinda like Robert Scott finding Raold Amundsen's Norwegian flag already planted at the South Pole during their race in 1911. (Felt like it anyway.)