“If we simply do what we are most inclined to do and go where we are most inclined to go, God gives us his best and never fails us.”
~ Meister Eckhart
It was an ordinary day. I was driving here and there doing errands, thinking and worrying about things that have not happened, may never happen … but being human I was determined to fret. At least for a short while. When I began this ordinary journey, the sky was as azure as the waters of Greece, yet I saw a dark mass far ahead on the horizon portending “weather.” This neither surprised nor concerned me. In upstate New York mountains, our summer thunderstorms can set upon us quickly with great fury, drama, and drenching rains. Then, they move on without so much as a ‘pardon me.’
I was on a small roadway between the villages of Saugerties and Catskill, when I saw this great plume of thick, black smoke. I pulled off to the side of the road expecting that fire trucks would be barreling through any moment. Other cars passed this scene, yet no one stopped. I found this unbelievable. I grabbed my camera from the passenger seat of the car and while walking across the roadway, I attached my zoom lens. I could not get close enough to see where the smoke originated, or if it was spreading. But surely someone would arrive soon. No one did. As best as I could determine, the billowing, black smoke was emanating from a valley. I could not get to the edge of what appeared to be a cliff due to a thicket of tree roots, bushes, branches, and leaves. So, I stood roadside and took this shot trying to capture the threatening nature of this event.
What struck me most about the abstraction of this image was the stark, bare stalk in the center. It appeared ossified as if a fire had already brushed it a long time ago. (Later I checked the local news and then the papers the following day. Not a word was mentioned about this event.)
I drove on into the dark mass of weather from Greene County into Columbia County. There I encountered several wonderful sites. The first of which was an old stone wall bordering a long dirt road entrance into what was, most likely, a Great House. Mist formed in a motionless atmosphere as often happens just before heavily laden clouds burst open.
Driving further along towards Chatham, NY, I came across a classic scene at this time of year. While the clouds were beginning to rumble in the distance with a low, soft thunder, I had enough time to capture the first rolled hay bales of this farm.
Since the storm was about to burst, or I thought, I headed for home but made a last minute detour to one of my favorite places: the Brotherhood Winery vineyard overlooking the Hudson River. The scene was skillfully wrought with drama: the sun still remained on one side as the dark storm mass gathered its might on the other. I photographed the lush, rolling vines as this ‘happening’ of two weather systems converged over the vineyard. I took my shot and prayed that the lavender hues created by Nature would appear as I saw them. I believe they did, and with a touch more, for the background is black with the portending the storm.
I arrived home just as the skies roiled with thunder and lightening and the clouds finally gave birth to a down pour of rain that christened the land once again with moisture and sustenance. Yes, it was an ordinary day with extraordinary sights, sounds, and blessings. I had stopped fretting and thinking about things that were not of the moment. What a gift. While I never completed my errands, I did do what I was most inclined to do and the Great Author delivered what I needed.
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