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Dec. 12, 2005
The morning was cold, clear, and pristine, pure in the way that only a winter morning can be, and only then in the hopeful light before dawn, before the sun has taken what might be and made it what is.

We carefully made our way down to point six of the Seven Points, a series of bluff and outcrop overlooks situated at the head of Cove Creek valley with stunning views to the south down the length of the valley and beyond. This was our first visit to this particular bluff, and it turned out to be one of the treacherous kind where there is no flat stone ledge at the periphery of the bluff, but instead the steeply sloped earth on top of the bluff comes all the way to its edge.

Still, the views were stunning, and we were there in time to be waiting when the first light of the rising sun began to paint the hilltops to the south a voluptuous red.

A while back a friend viewing one of my photos commented that I made the woods look like paradise, and I replied that they are a paradise. The woods are a kind of heaven to me, but beyond that, in many ways we live in a paradise, and it is all around us, certainly not one where the lion shall lie down with the lamb and I'll be changed from the creature that I am, but I say that those moments of heaven that we all, I hope, sometimes have are the natural state and are how we would naturally be if we weren't always so busy screwing everything up.

The photo that suggested paradise to my friend was this one, today's Back Light photo, of a remarkable spot on Leatherwood Creek taken on a remarkable spring day in 2004. You can't see it in the picture, but just a little way back in those woods is a stone chimney, the last remnant of an old homestead. I'd like to think whoever lived there chose this spot because he thought it looked like heaven to him, too.