June 2, 2020

Vandalized Monuments

Tuesday Treasures: Here we see a Confederate Monument in Luray with its base shrouded. I checked out the news there and it seems two monuments were vandalized early Monday morning. Some of the paint was removed and then then the bases were covered to keep the remaining paint from setting before it can be removed.

As you might imagine, there are many Confederate monuments in Virginia, a state that saw more battles than any other state. After 150 years passed, many people felt the veneration of the Confederacy needed to end. Some saw the monuments as a symbol of the racism that still poisons our social fabric.

WHSV-TV reported that "The graffiti included profanity targeted at police officers and the Antifa movement, as well as anarchist symbols." Also they quote the town's police chief as saying the vandalism was likely in response to the George Floyd protests happening across the country, though there were no large-scale protests in the town. He added that the actions of officers in Minneapolis do not reflect the values of the Luray Police Department.

This monument was created by noted sculptor Herbert Barbee.

This other Confederate Monument is near the center of town. The back-story of why there are two Confederate monuments is intriguing. Apparently Barbee's statue (above) was not popular with local veterans, possibly because it portrayed the soldier in ragged clothing and with his rifle not in proper position. The sculptor based it on a soldier he saw in his youth, a sentry standing in the snow with the barrel of his rifle slanting downward to keep the snow out.

I'm including a picture taken from the other side because it shows the tarps more clearly.

Meanwhile, my original hometown finally had its Confederate monument removed, not by the city but by the United Daughters of the Confederacy. They were the owners and they did not want it to be vandalized. Personally I am happy that they removed it because it caused arguments for years, plus it was a traffic hazard due to its placement.

I see that in 2018 the United Daughters of the Confederacy stated that they "totally denounces any individual or group that promotes racial divisiveness or white supremacy. And we call on these people to cease using Confederate symbols for their abhorrent and reprehensible purposes."

June 1, 2020

Locomotive Mural

Herndon, Virginia

This artwork graces a pizza restaurant. The number 1030 on the train matches the street address.

This place is part of a chain that has a tradition of murals. I see they show some other artwork on their site.

Theme: Park. Place: Seven Bends.

I've followed the progress of the new Seven Bends State Park since I first spotted it near Woodstock on Google Maps. The Park did not really exist then; all I could find was a No Trespassing sign at the end of Lupton Road. But in the years since, the park has taken shape and is now officially open. The ribbon cutting did not take place due to the pandemic lockdown, but work continued.

Now signs are in place, parking fees are charged, and trail maps are available.

The main attractions of the park are the river and the hiking trails. The river is the North Fork of the Shenandoah and kayaking, canoeing, and fishing are popular.

The park is named for the "Seven Bends of the Shenandoah River." a river that bends and turns due to the geology of the river. I'm sure there are actually more than seven bends but that's all you see at one time if you look down from Massanutten Mountain.

I am a member of the Friends of Seven Bends State Park.

Sharing with Blue Monday, Through My Lens, and Mosaic Monday.

May 31, 2020

Page County near the South Fork

Earlier this month we drove through Page County, Virginia, exploring a few back roads and admiring the scenery. The white church is the Leaksville United Church of Christ.  

Not far from there I spotted a sign for a boat ramp and turned into the lane that went down to it. I  watch for these signs because they mean there's access to a body of water, which usually means a photo opportunity. I carry a fishing license just in case a game warden questions my right to park there. 

This bridge carries U.S. 340 across the South Fork of the Shenandoah. The highway crosses the river again in Front Royal and later in Harpers Ferry.

The bridge support at the boat landing had been tagged by those folks who are compelled to leave their mark on public places. The graffiti was not artful at all but I did think this message was worthwhile: Make a memory today that will last a lifetime.

May 30, 2020

Silly Animals, Stately Birds

Since I posted multiple photos from Shenandoah National Park yesterday, I thought I should share these three shots from there too. The deer looks surprised that I interrupted dinner.

I was pleased to get close to a wild turkey but it turned its head away before rushing into the forest.

The rest of today's pictures are from my back yard, beginning with a silly squirrel.

I'm still filling the finch feeder. Usually I stop feeding birds in April because bears wander around hungry in the spring. I've had a couple of feeders crushed by a bear in the past. But I'm hopeful that bears are not attracted to black thistle seed like they are to sunflower seed. Thistle seed does not smell good, in my opinion. Goldfinches like it, though.

We've watched a pair of Canada geese with their lone gosling as he's grown over the past few weeks. Today I saw a second single-gosling Canada goose family at the same time as this one which surprised me. Usually Canada geese have multiple goslings, so why do two pairs here have only one? Perhaps there's an egg-stealing predator around. 

There is also a family of hybrid graylag geese that visit our yard and they have five goslings.

May 29, 2020

Mountain Rocks, Walls, and Flowers.

Shenandoah National Park
Willy Nilly Friday
Skyline Drive is open again, and I wasted no time going there and driving through a nearby section of Shenandoah National Park.  We were up there on Sunday in spite of fog, and went back yesterday when the clouds weren't so low.

The rain had brought forth springs of water splashing over the rocks. There were also splashes of color from wildflowers blooming in profusion.

Fences Around the World.
Most of the park facilities are not yet open. The store at Big Meadows is opening this weekend. Picnic areas, campgrounds, and restaurants are still closed.

If you've been to the central part of the park, you probably saw the profile of Stonyman. Here a rock formation makes the slope of the mountain look like the side of a face, as long as you use just a little imagination.
"Stony Man’s fa├žade is greenstone, a metamorphosed ancient volcanic rock. Even though we think of rock as never changing, it does change – it weathers, erodes, and breaks down. A rapid event like an earthquake or a landslide could alter the shape of Stony Man’s face or make his nose fall off in an instant! No matter the shape of his face, the view from the top is worth the effort it takes to get there."

Skywatch: Next let's admire a view of Old Rag as seen from Thoroughfare Mountain Overlook. 

I was dismayed to see trash at this overlook and at other points along the drive. I hope this bad behavior does not discourage the Park Service from reopening the rest of the park. Overcrowding and carelessness were problems earlier in the pandemic when the park stayed open after most recreational places had closed. No one wants to pick up items that might be contaminated with the virus!

Rappahannock County has several trailheads leading into the park and they have chosen to keep them closed because hikers were blocking roads with the vehicles after trail parking lots filled up. County leaders are also concerned about people from other localities bringing the virus into their rural area.

I've heard similar concerns voiced in Warren County but so far they are still welcoming visitors.

On a more pleasant note, I'm closing with mountain laurel and a scenic view. Some of the flowering plants were planted when Skyline Drive was built. A landscape architect was actually employed and plants were purchased in nurseries in the valley. Like the well-engineered road, the landscaping blends in beautifully with the mountain scenery.

May 28, 2020

Roadside Reading

Here's a car with more stickers than I could read.

This masked bear in Wardensville implores us to "Flatten the Curve." Coincidentally, Tom has posted a masked bear on his Signs linkup

I've been dismayed at how many people refuse to wear masks, even though they've been shown to help slow the spread of COVID-19. This bear's mask would make it unlikely that he would breathe on you (if he were a person instead of a carved bear). My mask is to protect people I speak to. Yes, it can feel uncomfortable in warm weather, but getting the disease would feel worse. And I actually like how it makes the odors of the detergent aisle in the supermarket a little less annoying! (I'm allergic to many fragrances.)

The sign on the left of the next image puzzled me until I looked it up. It is a hash tag of QAnon conspiracy posts on social media.

The remaining three pictures are ones I took in Warren County along 619. An electronic signs warns that a section of the road will be closed next week. 

The 619 Market has changed their sign to say "I thought air was free until I bought a bag of chips." 

The volunteer fire department is still trying to get new volunteers.