We got to travel to Old Dominion (Virginia) for the holidays. As many of you know, I grew up in Pennsylvania (holds hand over heart), and love the mountains, hardwoods, and clear-flowing streams of that part of the country. Living in Texas now, I don't get to see those as often, so it was a real treat to be back. No, it wasn't Pennsylvania, but the natural world pays no attention to geo-political boundary markers. Northern Virginia is only a few hours south of where I last lived in Pennsylvania. It looks and feels like home.
My brother had retrieved our parents from PA and brought them down to his place in northern Virginia. They're getting up in years and don't get around as easily as they used to, so we mostly stayed put in and around his house eating good and visiting. And of course we took pictures.
My son took this image of our dog in front of the Christmas tree. He's got a good eye and is turning into a competent photographer in his own right.
While we mostly stayed close to the house, we did take a little time on Christmas day to take a short hike out into the mountains around my brother's house. The plan was to hike out, build a small fire, cook a simple lunch, and eat it while we enjoyed the scenery. This is something my brother and I (and now my son as well) have enjoyed doing for years whenever we can get together.
Once we'd hiked far enough, I was released to photograph, while my brother and son made fire. Here are a few of my favorites:
It didn't take long before the fire was ready and it was time to eat.
You just don't know, unless you've done it, how refreshing a hike, a fine fire, and a nice hot lunch is in the woods. To us, it is the most peaceful, relaxing thing in the world to do with people you enjoy being with, and I can never seem to get enough of it.
Before we left Virginia, we made sure to take a family portrait, something, strangely, we'd not done in years.
All too soon it was time to begin the long drive back to Texas. The trip was long (I know I've said that twice, but it seemed longer coming back than going up), but uneventful. Until we hit Arkansas, that is. After enduring a highway standstill that lasted 30 minutes with no discernible cause, we rounded a bend in the highway, and off to our right was a field FULL of snow geese. I've seen fields of snow geese before, but never this many. Needless to say, I pulled off the highway and made a few photographs. I got a few of them all sitting there when all of a sudden, the whole flock took to the air. There were probably 5,000 birds in that flock. It was an impressive sight, and the noise was deafening. We couldn't figure out why they all took flight when they did until my son spotted an Eagle who'd come in for a quick bite. ;-)
It was a great trip. Far too short, but we've already made plans to return this summer for hiking, fishing, sight-seeing, and of course, image-making! Hope you all had a great holiday, and I wish you all a fantastic new year!