Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Cool, Old House

One of our favorite early trips after we bought our first digital camera was to Holly River State Park in West Virginia. I've posted this photograph before and I'll likely post it again. I love this place. Everything about the photo and everything about the trip and everything about that day and moment are crystal clear in my mind. And if I manage to recall something clearly, then it made one hell of an impression.

We had been staying at our campsite along the Holly River. The weather had been atrocious for a camping trip. Especially for a tent-camping trip, since this was in the days before our travel trailer and we had chosen not to stay in the park's cabins. Why? Because we'd just bought our tent, I reckon. Hard to say.

All it did for almost the entire trip was rain. And it didn't mess about with rain. It went whole hog. The Holly River was a torrent--a rushing madhouse of a river when normally it's quite the timid tributary. Not on this trip, though. It roared like a sabertooth.

This was the scene just outside our tent. Normally there's no waterfall across the river.

Eventually Carole and I opted to take a drive through the nearby countryside. We found a gravel road leading up a mountain and took it. The drive itself was a lot of fun, passing through woods and some farmlands and with us only seeing a house every couple of miles or so. This area was just very, very sparsely populated.

The rain made for kickass waterfall viewing, though. This was the Falls on the North Fork of the Holly River. Engorged on almost constant rainfall that day.

As we came around a bend in the road we saw a clearing on the left and spotted an abandoned house amidst an overgrown yard. We were very high on the ridge and the clouds were hanging very low in the sky. In fact, the clouds had come right down to meet the Earth at this point so everything was in a mild haze of truly creepy light. And so this house was standing, old and decaying, in the center of what had been a yard and which was now quickly becoming a mess of shrubbery. All alone stood the house. We stopped for a look at it and to take some photographs. In the almost silence the moment was about as close to magical as one will come.

Here was the house when we came upon it.

We could hear the slight wind blowing. We could almost hear the clouds floating past. There was the slight mist of rain settling on everything. The house was behind the thinnest of veils. I took my photographs. Carole and I oohed and aahed and admired the postcard scene.

It was only later, looking into the screen of our little Canon digital that we noted that there had been an enormous buzzard perched on the eve of the house. All the while I had been standing there snapping shots, this creepy denizen had been high atop the place looking down at me.

I'll never forget that moment or that place.

"Send more tourists..."

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