Blue Ridge bovines.
I'm going to miss our little backroads adventures, searching for the elements I use to create my little, personal utopias. When all this pandemic mess started, I felt that as long as I could get in the car and drive out to the middle of nowhere on dirt roads I would be fine. New rules as of yesterday say no unnecessary leaving home. I get it. I'm not against it. But damn. So I'm going to shift my focus. I am going to see what I can see verrrrry close to home (like, from my bed, lol). It will be an interesting adventure of a different kind. I pray y'all are well and at peace. XOXO
I am always drawn to the beauty of old buildings, whether they are in rural or urban settings. The stories that they could tell! I imagine Hester's Store, tucked in this mountain crossroads since 1893, has seen its share of interesting situations and characters. What a beautiful little gem she is. Lately (since the pandemic) my hubs and I have ventured up into the mountains more frequently, and I am falling in love. I have learned - since we have the luxury of time we have never had before in our lives - that the best way to travel is to turn off the GPS and just turn down whatever road takes our fancy. The smaller the road - the better. That's where all the magic happens, IMHO. Be happy. Be healthy.
Peach blossoms in the Smokies. Rural upstate South Carolina.
This beautiful scene stopped my heart somewhere up in the foothills of the Blue Ridge mountains while practicing social distancing out in the middle of nowhere.
Up until now (and probably after now, also) I have stepped back from the global pandemic that is our reality at the moment. I am a bit of an isolator to begin with, and have secretly and selfishly been enjoying the opportunity to venture out on backroads and photograph various things without cars or people blocking my view. I can't tell you how many times I've wanted to capture some scene without having to photoshop a mess of cars out of it.... or have to wait countless seconds for the damn people to get out of the way.
That said - I miss people. I will be happy when I can stand close to a fellow human being again. Hug. Smooch. Hold hands. Laugh in someone's face.
I don't spend much time on social media. Not even now. But I have been poking around a little more than usual and it's given me a peek outside my selfish little bubble. I have to say - people are mostly being awesome. They're being supportive. They're being humorous. They're being kind. They're being vulnerable. All things that make me like people more.
My spirits are lifted by so many creative people out there...I would like to mention a few: @davidhappydog and @bobthewritingcat make me laugh every day. @feralfemmeart makes the most amazing art and is being very generous, offering specials on her work during this awful time when all her art shows have been cancelled. There are so many more, but those three come to my mind right away.
I wish y'all (as if anyone is going to read this, ha) peace in your heart and health in your body. Let it be well with your soul.
- Ode To a Cow -
When life seems one too many for you,
Go and look at a Cow.
When the futures black and the outlooks blue,
Go and look at a Cow.
For she does nothing but eat her food,
and sleep in the meadows entirely nood,
Refusing to fret or worry or brood,
Because she doesn't know how.
Whenever you're feeling bothered or sore,
Go and look at a Cow,
When everything else is a fearful bore,
Go and look at a Cow.
Observe her gentle and placid air,
Her nonchalance and savoir faire,
Her absolute freedom from every care,
Her imperturbable brow.
So when you're at the end of your wits,
Go and look at a Cow
Or when your nerves are frayed to bits,
And wrinkles furrow your brow;
She'll merely Moo in her gentle way,
Switching her rudder as if to say:
"Bother tomorrow! Let's Live today!
Take the advice of a cow!"
The Old Farmers Almanac
- 1936 -
My friend, Laurel, and I took a day last week to wander the backroads of South Carolina with our cameras. Laurel is an amazing photographer and captured all kinds of wonderful things from her unique perspective. My results were less than impressive. Anyhoo...that's not what's important. We talked and laughed and saw beautiful things and met wonderful people. This is a piece I made of a sweet little bunkhouse on a 40 acre farm near Greenwood. The place is for sale, btw...it's a little piece of Heaven on Earth. Terry, the lovely woman who has lived there for many many years, and her dog Birdie, took us on a walking tour of the property. Here is what my good husband had to say about it:
"I do love my wife's work. I love this amazing piece! It was born out of a backroads trip through SC that Barbara took with her artist friend Laurel. It's a story of new friendship, art, laughter, amazing hospitality of kind strangers found down old roads. The story of a real world that exists outside the "noise" of a Country spinning itself to nowhere. This work, and the backroad story behind it, gives me hope. Joy still exists, you just need to get off the spinning highway of noise and take an old road with your eyes and more importantly, your heart wide open."
That really says it all.
I am often surprised (shocked, to be honest) to realize that I am no longer a young woman. I walk around doing life as if I were 30-something, and then accidentally catch of glimpse of myself in a mirrored surface and see my mother. Or there is something I need under the bed and my knees scream at me "You're 57!!"
I try not to obsess about it, but I would be lying if I said I never give it a thought. Without going into details, there were a lot of years that I was not in love with life. Maybe happiness was always there for me to choose, but I didn't see it or didn't know how to grab on to it. In any case - it took me over 50 years to truly appreciate this life that I've been given. I could write a book about those 50 years...but I won't. It would be sad and boring. I would rather look forward.
When I was a child, I had some dreams...one of which was to be an artist of some kind. This dream was not given much encouragement, so it withered from neglect. It didn't die, though. I've been nurturing that old dream the last few years (with blood, sweat and tears, lol) and it's come back to life. This weekend, I will be having my very first art show! Big shout out to my friend, Sheila Rains, and Creekwood Farm for giving me this awesome opportunity! Please check out Creekwood's website: creekwoodfarmrv.com