Almost heaven…

blackwater falls

Blackwater Falls

I am such a cliche!

It was my first time in West Virginia — other than passing through — and all I can sing is John Denver’s song…”Country Roads”.

Mostly in my head…but sometimes in the car, heh heh, in my inimitable out-of-tune style…

I just can’t help it.

But he sure got it right.

Almost heaven, West Virginia
Blue ridge mountains, Shenandoah river
Life is old there, older than the trees
Younger than the mountains, growin’ like a breeze… 

We were invited to stay at a remote cabin in the eastern part of the state that had been built by a friend’s son using plans provided by Bob’s brother. A lovely cosy place with a fireplace that got quite a work out!

It was a very short trip — and the weather was rainy and misty pretty much the whole time.

But that didn’t deter us.

The first day we drove to Seneca Rocks…

When we returned home, I posted this image on Facebook just to give my friends a little taste of where I was.

seneca rockslr

Seneca Rocks

And what did I see? “You’re here? So am I!!!!!!!”


A fabulous photographer, Denise, (see her wonderful photography and writing here) who I had met while taking an online class a while back had been in exactly the same place the same day. And we had eaten in the same deli.

And neither of us knew it.

She posted her shot of Seneca Rocks too.

Now what are the chances of that happening? (We live in Canada 560 miles away and she lives in Ohio.)

Sadly, our trip was too short to figure out a way to meet up (next time!), but we had some good Facebook chats.

I surely appreciated her tips and advice and soaked up her enthusiasm for the area. Her family roots go deep and her passion is profound for the landscape and the people.

I can well see why now. She and her husband and dog, Arthur, the cutest Corgi ever, love to cruise the backroads of the state soaking up the colour and atmosphere.

And that was what we did too.

wvroad2 deerlrTWO DEERmisty scenewvroadlr

I dedicate this post to Denise, a real life mountain momma…

Sing with me…

Country roads, take me home
To the place I belong
West Virginia, mountain momma
Take me home, country roads

— John Denver

What is soft is strong…

Water is fluid, soft, and yielding. But water will wear away rock, which is rigid and cannot yield. As a rule, whatever is fluid, soft, and yielding will overcome whatever is rigid and hard. This is another paradox: what is soft is strong.

Lao Tzu

This month, I’m sharing this photo with Kat Sloma’s Photo Heart Connection. See why below.

I love water. I love living on it (literally). I love living near it. I love sitting by it and watching as it ebbs and flows…

I was born on an island, moved to another island as a child, grew to adulthood on island, lived near Lake Ontario when I attended university and beside a river in Toronto for a time as a young adult. For 17 years I lived with a canal at one end of my street and a river at the other — with all the bridges we had to cross regularly, it felt a bit like living on an island.

None of this was planned, and I only realized it recently, in fact. When we get to a certain age, we begin to see the patterns in our lives and perhaps start to understand them a bit.

These days I spend a good part of the year on a sailboat in southern waters. The rest of the time I don’t live quite as close to water as I used to, but we are fortunate to have a river running through our town and lots of waterfalls. Every time I go to our main street I stop to visit the waterfalls. These falls also provide the green power for our community.

It’s a challenge to photograph waterfalls, as you probably know if you’ve ever tried. Too short an exposure and the water freezes in a manner not characteristic of itself. The falls don’t look the way you experienced them. Longer exposures are the key to the soft, creaminess that appeals to so many of us. But long exposures can let too much light in, ruining the picture. Enter the Neutral Density Filter. It allows you to reduce the amount of light that can pass through the lens. So after adding a neutral density filter, you can use a slower shutter speed. In these photos I used an aperture of F16 and a shutter speed between 1/2 second to a second at 200 to 360 ISO.

I certainly need much more practice making photographs of waterfalls and rivers and lakes and oceans, but each time I learn a little more and am rewarded by the time spent near water.

I’d love to live like a river flows, carried by the surprise of its own unfolding.

John O’Donohue

Water does not resist. Water flows. When you plunge your hand into it, all you feel is a caress. Water is not a solid wall, it will not stop you. But water always goes where it wants to go, and nothing in the end can stand against it. Water is patient. Dripping water wears away a stone. Remember that, my child. Remember you are half water. If you can’t go through an obstacle, go around it. Water does.

Margaret Atwood, The Penelopiad