Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV


April 14, 2013

View from the top

- — For weeks, I had glanced up at the snow-covered trees on top of East River Mountain and said a prayer. I needed good weather for the Prerogative magazine summer photo shoot. I travel along Route 460 everyday, shadowed by those gentle mountains favored by motorists and tourists. The stretch of road is often the place where I think, pray and muse on life and work. Some of my best work ideas have happened in between Princeton and Bluefield. I have also had a couple honest and silent conversation with God. So it seemed natural to add an extra prayer request for good weather.


Spring temperatures finally arrived in the two Virginias this week, just in time for the shoot in downtown Bluefield, Va. I had imagined freezing, shivering models in bright dresses and prints. It wasn’t a pleasant image. But as a resident of the two Virginias, I realized Mother Nature doesn’t always know when winter ends and spring begins. The day before the shoot, I stood on top of the East River overlook, looking down on the two Virginias. I hadn’t been to the overlook in awhile but it had remained the same in my absence. A few more signatures on the wood perhaps? I smiled at a banner slung on the rail. A homemade sign asking for a date to the prom. The world looked small from my vantage point. The overlook wasn’t empty. Others, all in search of a spring view, stood at the railing and watched the clouds grow dark against the sky. I wondered how many prayers and thoughts had been sent up from the overlook? How many secrets had these mountains heard or saw over the years? A place known for beautiful photos — Mel Grubb’s famous aerial photo of fog rolling in over the mountain is a favorite — the overlook has been a part of special moments, dark headlines in the newspaper and more. Strange how a place so beautiful can be so mysterious with an appeal that spans multiple generations. A few rain drops fell from the sky; I immediately looked up at the clouds.

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