Chantry Flats

Chantry10 bw

Photo By: Carrie

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Let me first say this series of photographs and events that I write about in this post are partly inspired by Leanne Cole and Laura Macky. For five weeks now they have hosted a Monochrome Madness Challenge, I wanted to take part this week as I have in past weeks. I am totally new to Black and White photography and love the platform they offer to anyone interested. Check out the latest Monochrome Madness post HERE. I offered the image above to their challenge. The last photograph in this post was previously posted yesterday for the Weekly Photo Challenge hosted by WordPress.

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Walk
Among footprints
You have been here
Listen, there are whispers
Trail songs
Ghosts
Dreams
Deep breaths
All wondering when you would return
Tilt your head
Up, not too far
There see the sky
Through the branches
An oak, a nest
Hiding the birds
So busy a rustle
A squirrel collecting its food
All of this wonder
Counting on you
To see
Their home connected to you
The more you walk, breathe
The same air, step lightly
Find a stick and have it take you somewhere
Enchanting
You get to know the ground
Beneath your feet not filtered through a screen
Those are your feet, connected
Walking with little sound
What if you take off your shoes
Will your toes turn
To claws
Will paws take over
Your feet
Easy there
Just get down on all fours
Scoop up the soil
Smell the earth
Roll around
Be
Wild
Oh beautiful
A primordial howl
I know you can’t help it
You want all who live
To know they are a part of the woods
You can’t forget
How to be free, let go
No need to return
Finger pointing
Theirs not mine
Respect what is
That is all you need to find

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Chantry7 bw

Photo By: Carrie

Chantry8 bw

Photo By: Carrie

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Rain poured from the sky, only for an hour, these parched hillsides will easily soak it up. I will do another rain dance tonight. The sun broke through soon after, the mountains started beckoning, calling me to see their show as the rain clouds danced on their ridge lines. I picked up my son from school, casually said to my boys, we are going to take a detour home, to the mountains, Mama needs to see something. Much to my surprise, my son immediately started crying, reminding me, his voice cracking from despair, how limited his time is after school to do what he wants to do before what he has to do, homework. I can see this is not the right time to take a detour from our routine afternoon. My mountain escape is on hold. I will wait, the mountains will be there tomorrow, hopefully the clouds will too.

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Chantry bw

Photo By: Carrie

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Now mid-morning, I briskly walk up the hill to my car, I have  just finished my volunteer hour and a half in my sons classroom. I am free until it is time to pick up my youngest son from preschool. I have an hour and a half to use as I want. I make sure my camera is within reach and drive to the mountains. I am lucky, driving to these local mountains takes about 5 minutes. As I drive around curve after curve my smile returns, I start singing to myself. I pull off the road,  make sure my side mirror is on the right side of the white line. I climb atop the still perfect 1920’s hand crafted cobblestone guard rail and look out. The clouds in constant motion, swirling quickly over the high ridges, sun beams softly glowing through moments in the clouds. There is an unforgiving massiveness to these mountains, the relief is staggering.

Chantry9 bw

Photo By: Carrie

I am not sure how long I am standing here, long enough to hear nothing for a while.  I eventually continue up the road to the trail head parking lot. I find a parking spot among so many other cars whose occupants are using these mountains too. My camera in hand, I easily drown out the distractions, this is my time to take in the beauty, feel small in the grandness of 6000 ft of relief. Find some wild flowers, feel the strong sun on my face. The time goes quickly, I now have less than an hour to spare. This time is well spent although it isn’t enough, it rarely is.

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Chantry4 bw

Photo By: Carrie

Chantry3 bw

Photo By: Carrie

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I am back again, to the same place, the following day with my youngest son. We eat lunch together at a picnic table under embracing oak trees. He is comfortable, like me, in the mountains. While eating lunch he asks me when we were going camping again.  My heart melts, as soon as we can, I tell him. We visit and talk to the pack mules. These working mules deliver supplies to about 80 historic inhabited cabins down trail. He names them all (Blackie, Brownie, Whitie 1 and Whitie 2,  Grey Boy and Cowie, a spotted mule) and speaks to them like his long-lost friends, saying good-bye to each one by name when we need to leave. It is time to pick up his brother from school. These mountains, though crowded, offer enough solace during the week to justify driving up here to eat lunch, take in the views, visit the mules, walk the trails when ever I can. We will be back next week at least once.

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Chantry12 bw

Photo By: Carrie

Chantry11 bw

Photo By: Carrie

 

11 comments

    1. Yes it is, Laura. When there are clouds it really accentuates the dramatic relief. Of course, I wish it wasn’t quite so accessible to the public, it is really overrun most days. But, I am learning where to go where others do not 🙂

    1. Hi Robyn, yes the views from this road are wonderful. I am always impressed with how many people are within view but very few are in the mountains.

    1. Thank you for taking the time to read them Robyn 🙂 Writing is such a fun creative outlet for me. And what an inspiring place to write about, I love it up there.

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