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Posts Tagged ‘walking’

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One of the things I have always loved about Charleston, West Virginia is that it offers many beautiful places for taking a walk. Of all the walks I love, my favorite is the Sunrise Carriage Trail, a wooded path that leads from the base of the South Side Bridge up to the old Sunrise mansion (originally a former governor’s home, then an art museum, now a law firm).

A few months ago I contributed to a Kickstarter campaign that made so much sense to me: Walk Your City is a grass-roots group that uses technology to encourage more walking in cities. The reward for my donation was this dandy sign, along with instructions for putting it up. I’m so pleased that Charleston has joined the Walk Your City family.

And here’s what the Carriage Trail looks like this week:

snowy_trail

ivy_ice

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Downtown Charleston, West Virginia.

Does it mean, “Two steps forward, one step back?” “Do-si-do?” Couldn’t they find a walker facing in the direction they intended? Maybe the walkers on these signs always aim for the left, and I just never noticed it. At any rate, I think this sign expresses exactly the way I feel on some days. I don’t know whether I’m coming or going.

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Misty morning in Cathedral State Park

For the past few days, I have been in one of my favorite West Virginia places, the town of Aurora, attending the third Aurora Spring Writers’ Retreat. Once again, I have enjoyed several luxurious days in which to be renewed by solitude and nature, nourished by gourmet meals, and energized by the company of several other writers. At these retreats, we are on our own for most of the daylight hours, except for mealtimes. In the evenings, we are more social, and usually give informal readings.

After a few sunny days, the weather has turned cloudy, and today I have been walking in mist and (sometimes) rain. Somehow the wet weather made Cathedral State Park even more beautiful. Within the past couple of days, many jack-in-the-pulpits have sprung up. Here’s a look at three that are just unfurling themselves. I love the way their leaves are folded, almost like origami:

Cathedral State Park is very small, but it’s one of just a few places in the state where the huge hemlocks have never been timbered. That’s how the park got its name, from the huge trees that resemble the supporting columns in a cathedral. It’s a very small park; in less than two hours, you can walk every single trail in the park, crossing this little creek quite a few times in the process.

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Ice Art

Ice on the Kanawha River

Ice floating on the Kanawha River makes abstract art

The weather has been very cold for the past few days! When I walk across the South Side Bridge to reach the Sunrise Carriage Trail, which I do nearly every day, I have been enjoying the patterns created by broken, shifting ice on the river. We don’t often see ice on the Kanawha.

These overlapping shapes of ice are creating patterns that employ what a visual artist would call “transparency.” I think I remember when, as a beginning graphic artist, I first began to understand what a powerful tool transparency can be when you use it intentionally and with skill. It’s what makes the Apple logo work, of course, that transparent “bite” out of one side. When you overlap two shapes and reveal the overlapping, you have the ability to “take a bite out of” each shape and suggest a third. That’s what these floating pieces of ice are doing. In this case it’s not intentional, of course, but my eye is just as pleased as if it were.

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New Year’s Walk

Nature Center, Davis & Elkins College, Elkins, WV

The year got off to a good beginning: I was snowed in at Michael’s house in Elkins for a couple of cold, snowy days. I had a wonderful time walking in the nature center at Davis & Elkins College. Neal Peterson was snowed in with us, which made for a happy time. He brought us a huge cabbage (bigger than a person’s head), and he brought me some herbes de Provence from the real Provence, where he spent some time in the fall. So we made split pea soup (with herbes de Provence, of course) and Neal made us an apple/cherry/raisin pie. And in the mornings we ate big bowls of oatmeal with cranberries and bananas. It was a good weekend to be holed up together, cooking and watching movies and playing Scrabble. And, amazingly, the roads were clear when I drove home this afternoon.

Tomorrow, of course, the New Year must become the New Working Year. Drat. Earning a living is such a nuisance sometimes.

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