If you have never before seen or spent much time in the mountains, it is hard not to be awestruck every time you do see them. Having spent my entire life, except for visits back to the family place in Ireland, at sea level, they are a constant source of wonderment. Like the sea, the Alleghenies and Blue Ridge mountains change constantly – if you look.
Shadows, colors, textures – all play their part in turning the panoramas of rolling hills and climbing mountains into kaleidoscopes of nature. Change one element – a passing cloud, mists rising through trees, rain falling at one elevation and not another, smoke drifting upwards from fields being cleared – and the entire scene becomes new.
Recently, we have taken two trips that have left us in awe of God’s Handiwork. The first was to the town of Cass, in West Virginia. We went with our friends Brian and Jeannette, partly to take advantage of riding the famous Cass Railroad with its century old steam engine and partly to have a unique setting for celebrating a birthday. It was quite a celebration. The views were spectacular, as was the “Hobo Lunch” served on board. Definitely gourmet, if one considers a turkey sandwich (or was it baloney) and sliced peaches gourmet. And I do! In addition to the spectacular mountain scenery, at the end of the rail line there is a view of a gigantic radio telescope sitting in the valley below in the tiny town of Green Bank, West Virginia. Erected by the Government, this telescope searches throughout space for radio signals. Local residents are, supposedly, not allowed to use cell phones, radios, etc. in order to maintain an electronic pollution free zone. There is a documentary on Prime that explains the scientific work that goes on and the people that choose to live there. But, only a few miles away, up the mountain, is the train – taking you back a century or more.
Our next and most recent trip was to Natural Bridge, VA. where, you guessed it, is the Natural Bridge rock formation and state park.
Once Indian land and then owned by Thomas Jefferson when he purchased it from the British king (before the revolution, of course), it is now a park owned by the State of Virginia and a draw for visitors internationally. George Washington, in his youthful land surveying days, carved his initials into one of the rock walls. His and several others from over the centuries are visible to alert visitors.
This wonder of nature is only about 45 minutes from where our new home in Staunton will be.
There is not a day that goes by that we thank God for letting us live in this place. We would love to share it with you.
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