Friday, October 27, 2017

Good Things Happened: Weekend Warriors

Can you guess where I spent last weekend?  Yes - the annual Stone Mountain Highland Games, at which we celebrate our Scottish heritage. This vendor tent was doing a brisk business.  I love that so many weekend warriors get to do that Braveheart thing.  "Alba gu bra!" (Scotland forever!)

For some reason, there were a lot of Santas around the games this year.  (I spotted at least five.)  This Santa represented his Clan at the Sunday morning church service. 

My favorite part of the weekend is the Clan march.  I wish my photo could capture the scope of the endless array of Scottish Clans lined up to march onto the field.  It never ceases to thrill me to hear our surname called out as the massed bagpipe bands play us in.

We ended up lined up beside the Atlanta Pipe Band after we paraded in.  A young man in our group is interested in taking up Scottish drumming, so this was perfect placement for him.

By the closing ceremonies, late Sunday afternoon, I was ready for home, but loved being played out to my car by the pipes and drums.

Have a wonderful weekend, my friends!

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Good Things Happened: black and white photo challenge

A few weeks ago, one of my friends sent me a photo challenge on facebook:  "7 days. 7 black and white photos of your life.  No people.  No explanation."  So I did it and posting them here, too.  I liked the way black and white changes the mood of a photo.  A couple of them were just throw away photos that looked as if they told a story, when changed to black and white.  I followed the rules for the facebook challenge by not giving any explanation, but I'll give one here.

I was waiting for my typical-for-a-Friday-night take-out Chinese food at my favorite little neighborhood restaurant when I read the facebook challenge on my phone.  Photos of my life, I thought.  No time like the present, and lifted my phone for this shot.  The challenge did specify no people, but I decided that meant no friends or family members.  I love the way these three at the restaurant always hustle around getting orders ready.

The next morning, this old friend who can't walk easily anymore, was being pulled on this wagon-like device by his owners.  The look in his eyes as he gazes at his "mom" just exudes love.

 The Saturday before that, in Black Mountain, North Carolina. This is one of those "throw away" shots that worked out well in black and white.

 I posted this one in color in August.  I only noticed that leaf, there in the middle, in the black and white version though.

 And I posted this one from the September retreat weekend in color.  It got the most accolades on facebook.  Love those shadows on these old pews.

 On the sixth day, I was getting ready to head up to the mountains with my sisters, and was outside watering the plants, when I noticed this little tree frog.  It hopped out of the plant I was watering and took refuge on this rail.

And on the seventh day - this lovely view of the Hiwassee River.  I never get tired of this scene and loved the misty look of the black and white photo on that morning.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Good Things Happened: Annual sister time

My two sisters and I traveled from three different states (Virginia, Georgia, and Florida) to be together for a few days, by the banks of the Hiwassee River in the Nantahala National Forest, in western North Carolina.  The gentle flow of this river never fails to bring me peace.

On the second day, we took the Blue Ridge Scenic Railway, which boards in Blue Ridge, Georgia, to sister towns McCaysville, Georgia and Copperhill, Tennessee.  There is a painted line that goes through the middle of the two towns that shows that you can stand in Georgia on one side and Tennessee on the other.

We rode inside the open air gondola on the way there and back.  The part I loved the most?  Gardeners, fishermen, construction workers, people in their cars, waving to us as we passed.

The weather is still so warm in the southeast that there isn't much fall color in the foliage yet, but I still loved looking for it.  Can you see the V in the water?  That is a fish weir that was constructed by Native Americans, long ago, to catch fish.  The fish swimming downstream would collect in the V and they would swim out and catch them.

On the final day, we visited The John C. Campbell Folk School Fall Festival.  I loved this family band - especially the earnest young man playing bluegrass music on the fiddle.

There were 41 pottery vendors, but I singled out a vendor that I particularly liked and bought a couple of things.  I've put myself on pottery restriction again.

 I was standing next to a jewelry designer's booth inside the festival barn, listening to this "jamming" band and told her she had the best spot in the house!  Music and dancing all day.  She agreed.  I wish I could have bottled this peace and shared it with the world.

Monday, October 2, 2017

Retreat, peace and beauty

This is the Presbyterian (USA) Retreat Center in Montreat, North Carolina, and is known universally among Presbyterians in the southeast as simply, "Montreat."  It was my pleasure to go on a retreat with church friends there last weekend.  A walking tour, shortly after we arrived, lead us past beautiful Lake Susan.

The conference center contains these old pews made of black walnut wood that have weathered over the years.  I love that they look so well-used and at peace.  

 This mural in the Chapel of the Prodigal, is of course, the Return of the Prodigal, painted as a fresco by artist Ben Long.  You can read more about it here.

And I loved this inset in the stone work in the courtyard of the Assembly Hall, where we slept.  Such a beautiful, peaceful place.  Now I know why everyone speaks the word Montreat in such hushed tones.