Wednesday, June 29, 2011

My Attempt to Capture a Perfect Summer Day in West Virginia

The weather was perfect. It was the perfect temperature with a perfect sky. There wasn't even any humidity to cause people to declare, "it's not the heat, it's the humidity." I started out going to the park but it was too crowded for my taste so I headed on over the mountain into Boone County. I love to drive on nice days and just see what I can see. I have also taken to pulling off to the side of the road when some brilliant piece of prose occurs to me and writing it down before I lose the thought in yet another daydream.

I passed several cars going in the opposite direction. This is unusual once you get off paved roads. One man looked like Gandalf in overalls and sunglasses and a baseball hat. As I drove through Hernshaw, West Virginia, a loud squeal caught me by surprise. I looked over to see a father and daughter rough housing in the pool. It was a great day to be there. Two trailers down were a father and son. A small boy obviously learning to garden beside his daddy. It was one of those moments when I wished I were a photographer. A very nice portrait could have been captured of a tender moment between a father and son.

Then I turned off to a road to Ashford and Nellis. I have heard of these places but I have never been. I have also heard there is a nice park down that road. I drove until I came upon it. Way out in the middle of nowhere was a small picnic area complete with playground and a baseball field with a man jogging the perimeter. There was a trailer that probably belonged to a caretaker's family. I saw the sign to a public stream access. I drove down to the river but there was a massive log jutting across the ramp so I assumed it was closed. On my way out I asked the man if the ramp was open for swimming or fishing. He said, "sure, you can do whatever you want down there."

Picture this:

Me, standing in the middle of a berry patch wearing a skirt, tank top and crocs. Obviously I was not planning to pick berries when I got dressed yesterday morning. I carefully made my way through the knee to waist high weeds - hopefully avoiding the poison ivy. There were more berries than I thought there would be. Even though some were already dried out in the sun. The remaining berries were small but sweet. I guarantee you that more will be ripe today but it is too far for me to drive to pick them.

I kept reaching for the one last berry, everytime I did I would find a treasure trove of them. Before I knew it I was smack dab in the middle of the berry patch. I was surprised by how many could be hidden by a leaf or a twist in a vine that I couldn't see just an inch before. I knew all this from when I was a kid but I haven't been berry picking since my early 20's. As I slowly inched my way though the berry patch I kept an eye out for snakes. I didn't see any. I did flush out a rabbit which I took to be a good sign. No self respecting rabbit is going to be any where near any snakes if it can help it.

I picked berries for probably 1/2 an hour before the strain of standing on the slope of the mountain in the hot sun started to take it's toll. The sun didn't seem nearly so hot when I started picking. I was glad that I was able to get to the berries to pick them. It hasn't been that long ago that I wouldn't have even attempted to cross the ditchline beside the road, much less make my way through the brush to get little more than a handful of berries. Of course, I ate a lot of them as I picked them.

Crocs were not made for standing on that kind of terrain and I kept slipping out of them A skirt and tank top were definitely not meant to be worn in those kinds of weeds. I could feel the weeds and brambles poking beneath my skirt and scratching my arms. I took a hot shower the second I hit the door - I hope it's enough to stop the poison ivy from breaking out.

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