I wrote a few months ago about my grandmother's property being sold. This land had been in the family a very long time. Part of the property was taken by the county in the 60's to create a reservoir. After that, my grandparents moved "up the hill." As a very young child, I remember going up that hill with my granddaddy a few times. We would walk to the old homeplace -- where my grandmother grew up. I saw the kitchen building from that old homeplace a couple weeks ago.
My trip to Virginia was long overdue. Time was growing short this summer for my daughter to be out of college. I wanted her to go along with me so she could see my mother and other relatives for a short visit. It seemed like I always would head to Virginia near my and my grandmother's birthdays. I drove up just after hers and days before mine.
The first day back I decided to make the trip further north (the other end of the county) to the property. It was a very cool morning and very low humidity for July. That was welcome. Upon arrival, I met up with the man who had purchased my great uncle's home from my grandmother. He accompanied me on my hike.
I walked down the path I had taken many, many times before. It was very familiar but also changed. The trees were taking over what had been open land. I saw ruins of the 'pig pen' and old well house near my granddaddy's garden. As I passed where the well had been, I remembered the bucket he and I would lower to the water to get a drink on a hot day. The garden was filled with sapling pines. We saw the stable and chicken coop. I pointed out to him where the fence was and the old pear tree. Beyond the tree was the homeplace spot -- the old kitchen still standing. Near there granddaddy had a patch of asparagus that would show up the same time as a wave of daffodils. Past this area had been an apple tree that I could no longer find, nor could I find the persimmon tree. In place of that is a patch of blackberry lilies that was full of blooms and butterflies.
The field where my pony would roam was very overgrown as was the trail down to the water. We passed another shed where granddaddy would store his treasures. Here something bit my arm and a yellow jacket flew in my face. All I could think of was that I did not want a snake encounter this day. Moving down the hill, through all of the leaf litter, I kept my eyes on the ground most of the time searching for one. Along the hill were many redbud trees, dogwood, and mountain laurel growing well here. There were also many old, decaying tree trunks most likely victims of Hurricane Isabel (2003).
At the bottom I sat up my tripod and shot many images. I remembered the times I spent there with my granddaddy. One time I caught a really large fish there -- so big I walked up the hill to get it to the shore. There were mornings he and I would walk down there, being as quiet as we could, to catch the beaver out on the lake. When the beaver spied us, it would always slap the water with its tail and disappear. There in that spot I had seen turtles, snakes, deer, and more. One day we saw a black cloud in the water heading toward the shore. It was many tiny, black, baby catfish in a large group. That day, I still saw the pole sticking out of the water that was between my grandparent's home and that the house where my great grandfather lived. Both of those homes under the lake.
I took many photos with my regular cameras that day. The photo below, I shot with my iPhone, is so far my favorite. This is from the place I stood many times. I had this photo printed 20 inches square on aluminum and I framed it yesterday in a graphite metal frame. Tomorrow I will take this photo and a bunch of others featuring water, the beach, and Barbies to LaGrange. The reception for this show at Cochran Gallery, 4 E Lafayette Sq, is August 23 at 7pm. If you can, come see this in person.