The air is cool this morning. A light mist hangs in the valleys below the deck where I am sitting, and have sat to drink tea for the past days. A thicker clouding obscures the peaks beyond. Again I sit and listen to the gold finches and chickadees, the dog in the valley below and a few of the rumbling motorcycles as they pass thru on the roads below. Today is graced with a nice breeze that is keeping the tiny no-see-em’s from being a bother, and it makes the flag over my head give occasional gentle pops.
I can hear Mark too, inside the lodge, talking with the students, them asking questions and him answering, sharing, explaining, and trying to simplify the mystery of the modern photography age. Their questions are many today, a few new faces in the mix. They have come with different levels of ability and are at different points in the learning curve and he is patiently trying to keep them all on a similar page and is having a bit of difficulty, like a kindergarten teacher rounding up her unbridled students. I suspect there will be the ol’ divide and conquer routine of sorting them into smaller groups to help the ones who are beginners and not bore the more experienced. Always a challenge. The martini shaker has been put on notice to be ready latter for medicinal purposes.
Yesterday was lovely, slightly cloudy, and eventually later gave way to a hard rain. Part of the day was spent in the lodge with the classes, then we went on a journey to try to find a photo op that was interesting, and general exploration. We traveled a ridge top road, sort of like the Blue Ridge Prkwy, enjoying great vistas of the soft blues and greens of the rises and falls of the folded earth below us. We came to a turn off where a trail head began to a bald and stopped the car. This one was called Huckleberry Bald and I was curious to learn why. I saw quickly that everywhere were berries. I don’t know if these were indeed Huckleberries but my guess was they were a blackberry/raspberry sort of thing, no thorns, tiny seeds, and bursting with sweetness. I grazed on these while the guys got their cameras together for the walk to the top. Once ready, we walked on thru the greenery on the narrow trail.
At the top the lush canopy gave way to an open field with a vast panoramic view. The un-mown grasses were quite tall but a well worn path led onward. And then I noticed, blueberries. These are my quest when I come to the mountains in August. These tiny berries are unequaled in flavor and behold here were tall shrubs full of them. The guys went on taking their photos and I spent my time filling my cap with handfuls of these yummy morsels, one in the cap, and one for me, or two or three. I felt like Yogi Bear and Booboo would be walking by at any moment, followed by the Ranger. It began a steady rain so we returned to the lodge.
I had brought some pastels and paper on the trip, so I did some playing around with these while the rain fell hard outside the window, having not messed with this media in a long while. Giant crayons they are, and I had forgotten how much fun they are and also how messy. My hands quickly turned to varying shades of yellows, reds, and blues as I drew and pulled a portrait of my young colt out from the paper. It felt good. I will do some more today.
The rain retired and left an evening of beauty to the valley. After dinner we headed to the porch and watched the half moon rising. Between the setting sun and the lunar light, the clouds that began to rise from the valleys had a soft golden glow, and was spectacular. Tripods came out with their cameras and took in the scene, beginners and advanced photographers equally appreciating how special the scene was that nature was sharing.
Then off to bed, for another stressful day ahead. Somebody has gotta do it.