Lake Conestee, in Mauldin, South Carolina. The East Bay. A peaceful place to remind oneself of the fullness of life, sometimes.
Well here I am around noon today. My Trek bike and I are stationary on the ridge of a man-made lake which is under construction. Preparing for the first descent. It is a beautiful Fall day indeed. Mild temperatures and blue sunny skies. Mesmerizing and zen-like. Music on my Ipod; trance-like and meditative. Time to play. Lets start.
Today in my little town, I am going to have a some fun. I am about to head out to the Gray Court Park. Gray Court, South Carolina is a small one-light historic town established in 1899. It has taken over a century to build a major park. Construction has begun on a man-made lake. A perfect place while under construction for some free-style mountain biking training. The slopes of the lake are varied; some are steep, tightly packed, others rocky and treacherous. What a find. And it is located just a few minutes from my house. This will provide many hours of practice during the Fall and Winter for myself and my riding partner. I will snap some photos and video footage to post later.
and layered colors
trace the path
fore and aft
a distant waterfall
cascading just beyond
my intrepid reach
to the tonal beauty
that surrounds it
It’s Autumn in the mountains of North and South Carolina. Time for a moment of inner reflection, tranquility, and a zen-like trek; to be found in the ascension. And realized at the summit of sky and earth
Second in the series of “chance” recordings …
http://youtu.be/Wdrl6O_H1uE – Copyright 2012 Walter W Smith
with restless dreams
in scattered refuge
in sudden refrain
– through the darkest storm
“I think we dream so we don’t have to be apart so long. If we’re in each other’s dreams, we can be together all the time.” – Calvin & Hobbs
Red. The color of those who lost their lives during the American Revolution. This is a photograph of the Enoree River In the back country of South Carolina. During a recent hike, I visited the Musgrove Historic State Park. A signifcant battleground between the British, American Loyalists, and the American Patroits. Intense and bloody battles insued. A divided country. Friend vs friend. Brother vs brother.
a transfusion of color
in blood and tears
– of lost
but not without
the soul in pain
– the spirit transformed
and the cries of freedom
in red flow
down by the river
brave men fought for independence
– for some
Another photograph from today’s visit to the animal park Hollywild. It’s feeding time.
On a beautiful afternoon, at a moments notice with camera in hand…
A peaceful discovery
Water and meditation….
Music by Molly Berg and Stephen Vitiello
Water for Meditation is a study in video minimalism. I am again, working with environmental and organic imagery to present an ambient setting for quiet contemplation.
Sometimes after the waking, life on the edge of everything is a beautiful place….
During a transitional period in the early turn of this century, I found
myself leaving behind the shackles of a difficult life and moving down the path
to a better tomorrow. I was rediscovering the pleasures of being one with
nature; my perception of it, its physical beauty and why there was a need for
it in my life. I also continued the process of self renewal through sobriety,
art, meditation and the teachings of Buddhism. It seems that I discovered how
to quiet the idea of living life on the
edge of nothingness i.e. being caught up in distraction, attachment,
endless thought and ego.
“We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we
used when we created them”. …Albert Einstein
Part of this process was realized when I was awarded an artist
residency with the South Carolina State Parks. It was a week-long residency at
Barnwell State Park in which I was commissioned to document the park visually in
exchange of having the pleasure of residing in one of the cabins on the
grounds. It is a small wildlife park with a beautiful lake and an alligator
(which I unfortunately never did get the chance to see). The nights were quiet and peaceful, and very
beautiful—as I was surrounded with darkness, tranquility, and solitude.
“Those things that nature denied to human sight, she revealed to
the eyes of the soul”. …Ovid (43 BC-AD 17)
On one of my early morning walks, I found a lovely path that
meandered along-side a slow moving creek. There was a tree that had fallen,
slightly blocking the path, and I was fascinated with its natural abstract design.
I sat there quietly for a while thinking about my life, my art, my purpose and the beauty of the moment.
…”Nature. Whose sweet rains fall on just and unjust alike, will
have clefts in the rocks where I may hide, and secret valleys in whose silence
I may weep undetected. She will hang the night with stars so that I may walk
abroad in darkness without stumbling, and send the wind over my footprints so
that none may track me to my hurt: she will cleanse me in great waters, and
with bitter herbs make me whole”. …Oscar Wilde
Life on the edge of everything is a beautiful and safe place indeed…
One of my favorite places to hike in South Carolina is the Pinnacle Trail. It is located in the Blue Ridge Foothills. I came across this rock structure on the hike and fell in love with it. It has the stern look of a man grazing out beyond the ridge.
Here is a summary of the trail.
It is six miles round trip with an elevation gain of 2673 feet. It has a rating of strenuous and takes about 4 hours to complete.
The first 0.2 miles is a relatively
flat, paved path that parallels a creek. Small cascades and pools are easily
accessible from the trail. After the pavement ends, follow the trail signs for
the Pinnacle Mtn. trail.
The trail is in fair shape most of the way.
There is significant erosion in a few places and parts of the trail can be quite
At about the 2.5 mile mark is the Bald Rock Overlook where you can
look back towards Table Rock Mtn. The summit is marked by a sign and a pile of
rocks but you’re in the middle of a forest with no view. Return the way you came
or continue on the Ridge Trail that connects the Pinnacle Mountain and Table
This trail is rather remote at times. I was hiking it alone and felt a need to see someone on the trail.
Art for Summer Vacations
It is that time of the year when we vacation or if we have
the opportunity we “Get Out and See”. Summer
is here, and the temperature is rising. We search for that place to cool our
days and excite our senses. If we are lucky we travel to far off places and
discover ourselves anew while basking in the view of a beautiful sunrise or
sunset. We spend our afternoons lazily browsing small vintage shops, historical
sites, museums, gardens of beauty and restaurants of epicurean delights. I have
not travelled much abroad, but I am grateful to have visited both The
Netherlands and France during my 1990 group art exhibition in Deventer Holland.
These locales are wonderful places indeed, and I will never forget the
hospitality and kindness that I received throughout my journey. It is the
people that make a journey abroad so special.
Here in the states, I often carve out a weekend adventure
here or there. I enjoy outdoor activities that test my physical being, and challenge
my sense of adventure. I also like to seek out places that provide emotional
recovery through meditative contemplation and recollection. This is vital for restoration.
I feel a great vacation should always provide moments of excitement and serenity….
What do you think? Where are some of your favorite places to
vacation? What do you seek out most when planning a vacation? Is it to find
adventure or is it to just relax? Do you prefer travels abroad or weekends
close to home? Please share your thoughts.
The art work that I have included in this post, are expressions
of the theme I call “Art for Summer Vacations”. The first piece “Vacation / a
journey without moving” is a collage of photographs I took as I travelled to the
city of Amsterdam, the town of Deventer (both in The Netherlands), the shores
of Cape Cod and Nantucket, and the mountains of North Carolina. The second
image entitled “Summer and its Warm Embrace” is a journey through mountains,
lakes and trails in NC, SC and TN during
personal hikes and an artist residency provided by the South Carolina State
My first visit to Charleston was in 2005 during my two-person
exhibit at the North Charleston City Gallery. It was my first time visiting the
city, and my first major exhibit in the state of South Carolina. The previous
year I had been awarded a week long artist residency at Barnwell State Park via
the South Carolina State Parks’ Artists Fellowship Program. This series created in the year
2010 is a reflection of the timeless and imaginary moments, found in the beauty of
morning, afternoon, and evening. As in my
previous posts, I am attempting to examine the relationship we have with memory
and place. I loved my visit to Charleston. I found it to be a beautiful, warm city
with great food, ambience and culture.
A beautiful day in a new place is always an exciting moment of
exploration and renewal, and of recollection in an artist’s mind. Here as the
bright sun of the afternoon beckoned, there were shops, galleries, music halls, and
restaurants to meander lazily through. The South I found, can joyously bring out the
leisurely feeling in one’s step. But the highlight of
Charleston is the bay. Most of the area is filled with historic monuments. The
bay is expansive and walking next to the waves crashing on the sea wall was
exhilarating. It can be a beautiful afternoon of discovery indeed.
As the afternoon turned to dusk, evening slowly approached. And in
that serene backdrop of the setting sun, there were floating memories of
friends, family and beautiful times gone by. The memories moved through the
color of evening and I found the night full of waking dreams.
Then and now I trust in the mystery of the day.
Where are the places that you visited for the first time
that has left lasting memories? What do you love about exploring new places? Do
you associate certain moments in your life, or loved ones with those places? If
so, please do share.
I am very fortunate that were I live, I can immediately access miles of rural back roads to immerse myself on my road bike. I spoke earlier about the sense of transformation that is achieved while biking. Here on these winding roads and gently sloping hills, I pass by farm lands, historic areas, woods and beautiful estates. What enhances a great ride is the right music. There is a distinct difference in the selection of music for road and mountain. On the road there is a need to be able to hear your surroundings for safety measures. Hence, my selection is always, soft, slow dancing ambient. My favorite band for a ride is the neo-classical ambient band from Austin Texas, Stars of the Lid. In fact, this has been the most prolific band for me in the past two years. This is aural mastery of the highest order. In contrast, when mountain biking, there really is no need to be conscious of your surroundings. Now your music can flow anyway you like. For the mountain, I prefer long flowing electronic sounds from bands like AES Dana, Bombay Dub Orchestra and Near the Parenthesis, or French Pop artists like Etienne Daho, France Gall, Charlotte Gainsbourg, and Alizee to name a few. It is here on the mountain when you need that extra aural drive to push your rhythm to its fullest—to make that climb.