Tag Archives: Sandstone Falls

Drawn to Mother Earth

The essential blessings of nature

By Michael M. Barrick

Growing up in West Virginia, I was blessed with my own private forest to explore. It was not large – less than an acre – but it was plenty for a seven-year-old. Elk Creek ran just below it, and two small tributaries fed it, one of which I damned up to form a small pond.

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Blackwater Falls in Tucker County, W.Va.

At first, it was just my playground. Then, as I grew older and was inundated with a strong dose of social justice teaching from the priests in our parish – not to mention our mom – it was where I meditated. For hours, I would sit on the picnic table under an aged and tall tree canopy that served as an aviary and allowed only slivers of sun through on the brightest of days. It was, as John Denver sang, “Cool, and green and shady.” It put in me the desire to become the “Boy from the Country” he sang about.

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Sandstone Falls on the New River near Hinton, W.Va.

There was no better place than our wooded “sacred spot” to sort through questions and concerns. The songs and chirps of the birds, the rustling leaves in a gentle breeze, the creek tumbling over the rocks, all inspired. This is why nature photos are put on PowerPoint slides in meetings and in hallways in hospitals; we are instinctively drawn to our Mother Earth for comfort, healing and peace.

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A trail along Crooked Run in Lewis County, W.Va.

© Michael M. Barrick, 2017

Photo credits: Blackwater Falls, Rick Carter; Sandstone Falls, Debbie Smith; Crooked Run, Michael Barrick.

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