It’s graduation weekend at The University of Virginia, a time for congratulations, hopeful beginnings, tearful goodbyes, and quiet reflection. Each year as we watch our town fill up before the festivities, memories of our own times at The University come flooding back. In these moments, ironically, I find that my thoughts do not turn toward memories of classes or youthful revelry…instead, I find myself thinking of those quiet moments in my “go to spots” where I would retreat to study, reflect, and daydream. Connecting our efforts and our dreams with a place, we own a piece of its past and feel a responsibility for its future. Charlottesville, Virginia.
From a glasslike river flowing across the earth in perfect serenity, a raging torrent grows as the water falls down the steps of the riverbed…eventually to return to the placidity of the level, gently flowing curves of the lower Mississippi. In the midst of the violent churning of the falls, the setting sun illuminates the rising mist and spray as the vapor seeks its path back to the heavens. Saint Anthony’s Falls, Mississippi River, Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Cattle moving with purpose across a green pasture, ignoring the lush spring grasses, as they follow one cow’s lead…the rock outcroppings along the field’s edge provide the idea scratching post for the bovine chin. Soon the entire herd follows as all grazing halts and a satisfied lowing is heard across the hillside. Crozet, Virginia.
Rough in appearance yet symphonic in its flow…the peach blossoms bloom in an explosion of pink…now, having dropped, a thin screen of green foliage emerges in the orchard…a spring cold front pushes through the piedmont, ruffling the new leaves and reflecting cold light off the mountainous terrain as it rolls and churns, making its way eastward. Jarman’s Gap, Crozet, Virginia.
Find the trail that puts a smile on your face as the sun dapples the path ahead and let’s you know that your way is blessed. “This one’s mine,” she says. Appalachian Trail, White Hall, Virginia.
Obstructing the narrow winding trail, feigning invisibility, he awaits her attention as the hunting game begins…as if a ritual, aware of his presence, she turns away in mock ignorance of his stalking…moments later, the real game begins. Sugar Hollow, Crozet, Virginia.
As signs of spring populate the landscape, gradually, the underlying structures become obscured with foliage…In this time of transition, light still penetrates the arbor and we see both the bones of the trees and the ever green ivies that cling to them…a different sort of beauty hidden beneath the finery of spring. Keswick, Virginia.
When the cherry trees are in bloom, everything seems brighter and we look hopefully toward the advancing Spring and the rebirth of the landscape. Keswick, Virginia.
We wander the trails that trace the way, far from home or right next door…In our wandering, we encounter strangers from away and silently note our differences…but when we stop to share a smile or a few laughs, we forget our superficial origins and embrace our deeper ones…and for a moment, we share a common language in our expressions of playfulness and kindness. City Hall Park, New York, New York.
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