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Left at the Tracks


24 x 30"

acrylic on canvas

Fayette Gallery, Lexington, KY


Never look back, and you’ll have no regrets • Accelerate uphill in order to take flight on the way back down • Anticipate each crossing with a renewable spirit • Search for freedom amongst ambiguity

While some of life’s crossroads are more significant than others, it is important that we realize the beauty in every path. The truest reward is in finding yourself completely submersed in what you are doing at that exact moment. But what happens when your life is dictated by frozen ideals? Maybe it is more important to stop wishing and dreaming, and just live. Otherwise, we may just end up spending our lives standing still at the crossroads.

We hike down 500 feet of steep, wooden walkway to find a natural tunnel. It opens the jagged cliff, allowing trains to pass through. The walk doesn’t seem difficult enough to justify the chair lift above us until we consider the trip back up. Unfortunately, that lift is not in service this time of year. In fact, we are the only ones visiting the park at all. I stand in the center of rusty train tracks, where parallel planks emerge from fossil ridden stone. Alfonso reads about tormented lovers and Native American legend.  

We ascend to the 5,729-foot high Mt. Rogers, and camp in the snow at Bear Tree Recreational Area. The next morning, while venturing out onto a frozen lake, we peel an orange for breakfast through mittened fingers. Necessity interrupts this natural tranquility, and it is time to find a laundry-mat.

Listening to the whirring of machines, I watch my delicates swirl against the glass. My legs are folded across the faux wood surface of a rickety 3’ x 8’ table. I try to use this time wisely, and prop a canvas in front of me. As I’m thinking back to the events that transpired over the past week, I pretend not to notice the two men watching me from behind the row of washing machines. Lover’s leap, Foamhenge, Richmond and Jamestown all entertain my mind, but after finishing the painting’s background, I must stop. The twang of country lyrics blares over the radio, absorbing my inspiration. Besides, it’s time to give these two men a break. Their eyes and minds must be burning by now over wonderment of what

I am doing. 

Before leaving Virginia, I run through my short list of West Virginia galleries to find one open and interested in our project. I run through this list four more times. My calls are in vain. It is the week between New Years Eve and Christmas, and I can’t help but wonder if the entire state is on holiday. We refuse to let this delay our efforts, and decide to move on and visit the next state anyway, but we will have to return on our way back east to meet with a gallery. As for the Virginia painting, which I finished during our once-a-week hotel night, we are taking it with us to Kentucky.