“The grass is greener where you water it.” ~ Neil Barringham
I really must be living right because every year I am showered with kindness from friends near and far as my birthday comes and goes. Plus, many of my friends also share Capricorn status with me, so we celebrate their trip around the sun as well. It all makes my heart swell with happiness.
“Never say mean words out of anger. Your anger will pass. But your mean words can scar a person for life. So use kind words or be silent.” ~ Unknown
On a steep bank overlooking the Ohio River sits an old three story house. It belonged to the Bierbower family, German immigrants in Pennsylvania who settled on the Western frontier of Maysville, Kentucky in the 1830’s. They became successful merchants. They were also against slavery. The Bierbower house gave refuge to slaves seeking freedom across the river. Beneath the floorboards of their cellar lay black men and women silent and still until they could successfully cross the Mason Dixon line. Today, the Bierbower House is called the National Underground Railroad Museum. Mom and Dad visited the museum several years ago and were blown away by the experience. The Rental Sisters and I made our way from Augusta, just nineteen miles away, to visit, too. Our tour guide, Crystal, was a wealth of information. She was enthusiastic, kind, and very generous with her time. No photos inside the museum are allowed, which is not uncommon and I was happy to abide. Crystal felt bad for me I think. At the end of the tour she took me to the third floor porch, normally closed to the public, where I snapped the photos below. It’s virtually impossible to stitch wide angle photos into a pano so I didn’t bother to try. I trust you to use your senses to understand just how expansive the view was for the Bierbower family and how daunting a journey it was for those seeking freedom. If you’re ever in Maysville, stop by the Museum and tell Crystal I sent you (and thank you for the extra special tour). It’s an inexpensive education and the message matters now as much as ever.
“Be polite. Be blind to the shortsightedness of others. Walking away is not necessarily weakness; sometimes it’s real strength. Very few confrontations are worthy of a line in the sand. Don’t seek to rule others and don’t live as if you’re being ruled. Live a life that’s honest to yourself. Love isn’t what you feel. It’s what you do.” ~ Steven Roth
The Rental Sisters and I were not alone in Augusta our first day and night. Rental Nieces Cassie and Lisa joined us for a rare young mother’s day away from their toddlers. Along the way we caught wind of George Clooney’s side business. We kept seeing signs for Casamigos Tequila throughout town, and eventually learned that this was George’s side business. (Get your minds out of the gutter!) The local pub featured Casamigos straight up and in a variety of cocktails. After a long day that ended with a nice dinner at Moyer Winery, we retired to our respective rooms. The nieces waited for us old gals to go to bed, as we learned the next morning, and then high-tailed it to the pub to try some of George’s side business. The thing I love about these two is how easily they fit in with the old crowd and still want to go out on their own. I’m so glad they came with us. Time spent with them is never time wasted.
“Wear gratitude like a cloak and it will feed every corner of your life.” ~ Rumi
In operation since 1798, The Augusta Ferry is one of the oldest continuously operating ferries in the U.S. It’s open seven days a week, runs 8a to 8p, and will cost you $5 one way, unless you’re on foot, in which case you can ride for free. I’m kicking myself for not doing it, but it’s just more incentive to go back.
I awoke last Sunday to find a thick blanket of fog had settled over the Ohio River valley at Augusta. Naturally, out the door I went, heading straight for the water. My timing was perfect. The fog was thick and the water surprisingly still. It had been steadily rising since we’d arrived Friday afternoon, and yet, this morning, it was as still and mirror-like as if it was a pond. Admittedly, there wasn’t much to mirror in a blanket of fog except more fog, but it was peaceful beyond all imagining. Then, I saw something unusual peeking through. It grew larger, and though it was suspiciously quiet, I soon realized it was a very large barge headed upstream. It’s wake seemed to disrupt the entire world. The water broke its reflective stillness and the fog began to lift as if the barge itself was upending the fog as it moved upstream. It was a gorgeous moment really, and it set the tone for a beautiful week ahead.
“Be who you want to be. Be who God has created you to be.” ~ Tayvis “Tayvho” Akpan
In all the birthdayness and busy of this week I’ve not had time to even look at what I shot in Augusta last weekend. That is, until this evening. There are some okay shots, but the photo above of Pam Bick photographing the sunset stood out to me. The river is peaceful. Pam is peaceful. The sky, the sunset, beautiful. Beautiful like Pam. She’s a special person to so many. I don’t think her sisters could love her any more than they do. They adore her. And I’m very lucky she adopted me. What an honor.
“What flatterers say, try to make true.” ~ German proverb
After a day of adventuring, we found our way to Maysville. There, we came across a great restaurant situated beside the railroad tracks and the river. The restaurant sits beside the Amtrak station that isn’t actually open anymore which is pretty sad. The tracks, the station, and the restaurant are on the outside of the flood wall like sacrificial lambs. The river has been rising from all the rains upstream since we got here. I don’t expect it will raise above the tracks, but it’s happened more than once, and I just can’t imagine what it must be like to have a home or business that’s a sitting duck for floods. Disasters aside, we’ve spent a lot of time beside the river today and there’s just nothing more soothing than flowing water. What a beautiful day we’ve had.
“Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy.” ~ Dale Carnegie
A quick look out the window of last night’s hotel provided a beautiful view of downtown Cincinnati. It may be the most beautiful city at night with the mighty Ohio in the foreground. Maybe one day I’ll have the time, the gear, and the location, to do a real shot of the city at night. For now this will have to do. Still, there’s some beauty to behold.
“No human heart is denied empathy. No religion can demolish that by indoctrination. No culture, no nation and nationalism – nothing can touch it because it is empathy.” ~ Dayananda Saraswati
Back in September, when Judy and I accepted our major award (ha ha) at the Galt House in Louisville, we took a stroll to admire the Ohio River. Today, the park seen here between the Galt House and the Muhammad Ali Center is under water. In fact the first floors of the Ali Center’s parking garage are also underwater, closing the Center as well as many other riverside businesses. Interstate 64, in the photo, looks as if it’s floating in the water now. Towns along rivers are no strangers to rising water, but that doesn’t make the damage any less severe or real. But it does build a certain resilience and there’s a lot of positivity in that. Just the way I like it.