Wednesday, October 15, 2014

A Rustic Ride along Rural Roads

On Sunday I grabbed my camera and decided to go for a drive in the countryside. The foliage was starting to turn but most of the mountains and lanes were still predominantly green. Yet the scenery out here is always beautiful regardless of the leaf color and today the heavy grey skies lent a sinister moody air to the landscape.
I drove down a road not yet traveled by Stuart and myself, so we pottered along slowly enjoying every vista. I was heading towards an old mill I'd seen photos of and was also hoping there would be water nearby. I've developed an avid interest in stone balancing and have a couple of friends on Facebook who have perfected this skill, producing beautiful works of art. If nobody was about at the creek I fancied having a go to see how hard it was.
I found the creek and was thrilled to see it had plenty of water running through with a multitude of round, smooth rocks. And nobody was about! I scrambled down to the bank and not really knowing how to start just concentrated on looking for stones that felt 'nice'. It was pretty difficult to crouch down as my knee is still healing so I had to cope with bending down instead, which didn't feel quite right. But I persisted on trying out stones and soon found that the work had a calming influence. It seemed as though I could feel the weight of the rocks pouring down through each one as I moved them around finding the right balance spot. The water was cold and I wished I had worn my jacket but I persevered and soon had a couple of basic structures which I was really proud of!
 I'm definitely going to be coming here again to do this, it was very therapeutic, but I really need to be able to crouch down and maybe even be in the water. I hope I get a few more opportunities to do this before winter. My main influence is Michael Grab, his structures are incredible. Check out this link.
I left my structures standing and crossed over the bridge, glad to be able to stretch my legs with the walk. The barn was looking in a sorry state and in dire need of some TLC.
There used to be two barns here but only this structure remains standing, the Avon Mill, once a neutral trading site during the Civil War. As I walked around I spotted a 'for sale' banner hanging down from a top window. The ground level was flooded from the nearby creek but higher up the huge beams looked to be in OK condition. I hoped someone would restore the building soon, it would make a wonderful craft shop or winery.
I got back into Stuart and continued my meanderings along the country lanes.
I stopped occasionally as a view caught my eye. I saw signs for the Rappahannock Hunt and drove for a while with my window down and my head leaning out, listening for a horn bugling or hounds baying, but no luck. But then I rounded a corner and couldn't believe what I saw. A zebra grazing in a field!
What a splendid sight! I parked on the verge and jumped out to hang over the fence. Clicking my tongue furiously, low whistling and cooing had a zero effect on this stoic creature. He and his zonkey pal ignored me completely and so I had to settle with zooming my camera in on them for a few photos. I suppose they're used to receiving lots of attention and I cursed myself for once again forgetting to bring carrots and apples on my drive. I had a chuckle when I got home and spotted the llama photobombing the top photo, I didn't see him at the time.
I carried on driving, stopping to capture scenes of stone pigs scuffling in the leaves, pumpkin lanterns, Christmas lights hanging on an abandoned house, scary monsters and a fall festival with no attendees. And then the scenery started looking familiar and I found myself passing England Mountain and wishing my knee was strong enough for a quick sprint up and down like I used to do only a few months ago. But I couldn't feel bad for long, the clouds were getting darker and heavier, spots of rain splashed the windscreen and I felt better knowing I couldn't have hiked even if I'd been able. And it will only be a few weeks before I can don my hiking boots again anyway. As if the weather read my mind the skies opened, rain crashing down on Stuart so loudly that it was almost deafening, and I drove slowly back home,  enjoying every glittering, vibrant leaf on the way.

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