The beauty in eeriness...

         Several years ago, going back into my early twenties (my, how time flies!), I remember after just being promoted to bartender from bar back, I would always have the Monday morning opening shift.  Well, my dear friend (and fellow Monday morning trooper) Shannon, as acting manager, would have some sort of inspirational calendar picture/quote awaiting me week after week.  It became quite the running joke between us and something I, of course, greatly looked forward to.  So, in that spirit, I'd like to try beginning my own version of Monday inspiration for everyone...  No matter what Monday is to you - a drag, a favorite day off, a new beginning - I hope you'll find these to be that needed ray of hope or something to make your day even better :-) 

"May Your Spirit Be the Guide"

         Upon my return home from that life changing backpacking adventure with my brother in South Carolina, I found myself reflecting on many things...  As much as I was becoming obsessed with nature photography, I had never really before been out for much more than day trips/hikes or leisurely strolls close to home.  And now, I had just driven through the entirety of Shenandoah National Park twice, a bit of the Blue Ridge Parkway, and camped out for two nights backpacking - all over the course of one week!  With one evening left before going back to work, I decided to drive out to Poe Paddy State Park about an hour from my house to see if this Dogwood might still be flowering.  You see, the evening before I set out on that adventure, I had come to this very spot.  Spring blooms had come extremely early this year, and by mid-late April most areas were predominately green.  Then out of nowhere came a freak late April snowstorm!  Roughly six inches dumped on all that fresh green, it was beautiful!  It melted considerably fast with warming temps the next day and the remaining blossoms had survived.  But, that first evening here, I had lost the light to attempt a good photograph.  So it had been stirring in me, wondering if I might still have a chance of this Dogwood being in bloom a week later...

         Miraculously, it was!  A precarious hop, skip, and a jump across some rocks put me out on the Big Poe Creek in great position.  Balancing on a rock, trying not lose my gear or myself in the water, this ethereal fog creeping in and consuming the mountains at sunset, I snapped the shutter.  And in this moment of awe at Mother Nature's unpredictable beauty, I rationalized all the events in my life over the past 9 months - that made me question so many things about happiness, passion, and how we move forward - which led me to this adventure and to this moment of clarity.  I listened to my heart and let my spirit guide me and I've been doing my best to do so ever since.

                                                                                                                  Brandon Kline

"May Your Spirit Be the Guide"