Solace In The Vosges Mountains

B&B

Deafening tranquility. That is how I would describe the simple abode I happen to be staying at for a few days at the foot of the Vosges Mountains of eastern France. Green apples strewn around the orchard floor, grapes on the September vines waiting for pickers to arrive, and a sweet morning fog enveloping a valley that has yet to wake up. Serenity, a blooming garden, a slow moving tractor reminding you that you are amongst farmers. Morning coffee, soft pastries from the village bakery, and the melodic sound of a common, but never tiring, Bonjour. Morning dew over the herb garden, a butterfly, a drop of rain. Silence. The first touch of a morning breeze. Peacefulness. The simple life. Happiness.

In Search Of Simplicity

A lonely tree along a country road reminds us that sometimes, less is indeed more.
A lonely tree along a country road reminds us that sometimes, less is indeed more.
Showing the ravages of time and neglect, an old barn sits abandoned along a Virginia dirt road.
Showing the ravages of time and neglect, an old barn sits abandoned along a Virginia dirt road.

I am convinced that driving along country backroads is a sure way of discovering all sorts of photographic wonders.  Not that this sort of observation will lead to a Nobel Prize any time soon, but rather that in today’s busy world, driving for pleasure has become a rarity for too many people.  If you are old enough to remember the family Sunday ride, you’ll know what I mean.  It was all about the ride, and about looking around.  A visual journey where time and speed were always subordinated to the thrill of discovering something new (or different) along the way.  The rides were fun, unstructured, and rewarding.  Sort of like sitting behind a glass window in a coffee shop watching the world go by, but with wheels.  These photos were the product of one such ride along the Virginia countryside.  Amazing what you find when your eyes insist on seeing.

A Winter Day Along The Virginia Countryside

Even in winter, horses roam freely along the rolling meadows of the Virginia countryside near Middleburg.
Even in winter, horses roam freely along the rolling meadows of the Virginia countryside near Middleburg.
While relatively close to Washington, DC, the stables and farmhouses of the Virginia countryside appear to be worlds apart on a winter day.
While adjacent to Washington, DC, the stables and farmhouses along Route 50 are worlds apart from the Nation’s capital.
The ever-changing Virginia weather can go from intense snow to idyllic weather in the course of a morning.
The ever-changing Virginia weather can go from intense snow to idyllic weather within the course of a single morning.
The incredible beauty of the Virginia countryside near the community of Middleburg is intensified during winter months.
Some of the most beautiful farmhouses in America are only an hour away from Washington, DC.
Adjacent to the million dollar properties and vineyards along Route 50, old Virginia continues to be alive and well.
Adjacent to the million dollar properties and vineyards along Route 50, old Virginia continues to be alive and well.

It is virtually impossible to get tired of the Virginia countryside, specially if you are a photographer.  Even in winter, when local weather services constantly struggle to get their predictions right, a slow journey along the rolling landscape near Middleburg will reward you in ways that are hard to describe.  Manicured horse farms with dark wooden fences, historical dwellings side by side with million dollar mansions, gorgeous horses lazily wandering along undulating meadows, and tree-covered country roads gently disappearing into the horizon.  It is an incredible landscape constantly displaying the rich heritage of the state.  During the snowy, winter months the city-slicker crowds with their late-model BMW’s are gone and the place finally slows down to its more characteristic, rhythmic crawl.  It is the slowness, surrounded by incredible beauty, that nourishes your photographic soul.