Wednesday, July 21, 2010

"How far to heaven?"

"How far to heaven?  Just open your eyes and look.  
You are in heaven."
- Shankar

The New River Gorge, Fayette County, West Virginia

I was born and raised in West Virginia; I moved to Ohio in 2006, at the age of 22. When my husband and I travel back to WV, the visits are simple - time is spent catching up with our loved ones, enjoying some of mom's cooking, and hanging out in our familiar childhood backyards, chit-chatting and relaxing. 

In spring of '08, my husband and I attended one of my close friend's weddings while visiting our hometown.  Her reception was held at Smokey's on the Gorge, in the town of Lansing (Fayette County).  Smokey's on the Gorge is a beautiful restaurant/reception location with large outside patios and decks that overlook the New River Gorge Canyon and New River.  In the distance, you can also see the New River Gorge Bridge (the third largest steel arch bridge in the world and site of the Annual Bridge Day.)
The photo above was taken from one of the decks at Smokey's.  All I wanted to do was stand and stare at the gorgeous New River! I felt as though I had never seen it before... but I had - several times, in fact, while growing up. 

Why didn't I appreciate the natural beauty of West Virginia when I actually lived there? 

As an adult, I finally appreciate the pure, gorgeous scenery of my home state.  This photo, enlarged to an 8x10, sits in a beautiful wooden frame inside my Ohio home - it will always be on display, regardless of where life takes my husband and I. We've left West Virginia, and we may never return there to live, but it's always nice to have the photo of the New River to remind us of where our home away from home is.  

When I look at the photo, I can't help but to feel a little spirtual - that is God's work at it's finest!  The photo is a reminder of the day my husband and I stood on the decks of Smokey's on the Gorge, celebrating our friend's wonderful wedding day, and gawking - in awe- at what we'd somehow missed our entire time of living in WV. "Almost Heaven, West Virginia" may be the state slogan, but the realization of how naturally beautiful our home state was heaven in itself. 

~*This blog was inspired by one of the many terrific writing prompts found at Mama Kat's weekly Writer's Workshop.  If you're suffering from writer's block, click the graphic below. Mama Kat's ideas are sure to inspire you, as they do hundreds of other bloggers each week!*~

Mama's Losin' It

Today, take a moment to appreciate the beauty of your surroundings - whether it be tall city buildings, scenic mountains, or a lovely plant sitting in the window :) 
Have a beautiful day! 

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Hayley said...

A nice landscape memory, Stephanie, and a beautiful picture. I need to explore WV more. I am transplanted from Los Angeles, to Athens Ohio (where I went to grad school), and now we're living in the WV, OH, KY tri-state area. When I head home to CA each year I always try to find something I love/miss, but it is getting harder to find something. This year on my three-week visit, I found myself longing for the green of KY. I got my wish when I returned and had to tackle weeds in my garden that were taller than me!

Leah Molyneaux said...

Stopping over from Mama Kat's workshop. Love your blog. Love the story...and you're right. WV has lovely sights. My husband is actually from WV and I moan and groan when we have to go up there in the winter time because of all the snow(I'm from NC...and HATE snow)But once I'm there I love it..because I know I can leave! I love your ETSY products as well. I will be following. Feel free to stop by mine.

Sandrine said...

That is a beautiful photo. I've never been to West Virginia (or Virginia - I haven't been to the US much at all!) but love your description of it and can almost feel it. Your post also made me think that there are many places here in Turkey, our adopted country, that I regard as heaven. I need to print out some photos and put them up!

Crazy Shenanigans said...

I think the older we get the more we appreciate the things that we once had or had easy accessibility to. I think the next bridge day, I'll attend.

Ms. Emily Ann said...

Couldn't agree more! Such a gorgeous photo. What I miss the most about Arizona and being out west are the mountains, Ohio is just way too flat...

Lindsay said...

Came across your blog and had to say hi! :)

love jenny xoxo said...

it's funny how you take things for granted until you don't have it anymore. Beautiful picture!

Diane said...

Thanks for stopping by my blog ( )

That is a beautiful picture! Growing up we went on a lot of day trips and a few longer trips and even though I loved it, looking back now i realize i didn't really appreciate it. I wish I could go back to a lot of the places and take pictures and relax in their beauty!

motivationmamadrama said...

I love this not only for it's beauty but for what it represents. I also moved at the age of 22 to Texas from North Dakota. I didn't appreciate the beauty of the state until I moved away. Keeps me grounded and I will always call it home.

chocoholic said...

Mr. Groom and I spend out first Christmas vacation together in a cabin in WV. It was quite beautiful and I'd love to go back!

Anonymous said...

So glad you stopped by, I'm your newest follower ! I agree this picture is amazing !!! Wish I could be at the New River Gorge in West Virginia NOW !!!

Victoria said...


I'm your newest follower from Chickadee Friday :)

That is such a gorgeous picture!


Jen said...

I once rafted on the New River...but not in West Virginia. This view is amazing. It is funny/sad that we don't appreciate things sometimes until later.