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There’s good advice to be found everywhere, even spray painted on a huge rock in the middle of nowhere.  As I mentioned in the previous post, I recently took a trip back home to Lancaster, SC and went shooting at a place that I haven’t been to in probably 15 years or more.  This is 40 Acre Rock, an aptly named geological formation in a rural part of Lancaster County.  I grew up about 15 minutes from here, and spent many summer days here when I was in high school.  It’s a massive rock face jutting out of the forest, with streams and small waterfalls all around the base, and it feels like you’re visiting another planet.

I had just hiked up the side of the rock and emerged out on the surface from the forest below.  I was out of breath and needed to rest badly, so I set my gear down and sat down on the rock to rest.  The rock face is not smooth, it’s pocked with indentions, and the people who come here often use these for fire pits.  Camping is no longer allowed here because of vandalism, but it’s apparent that people do it anyway as there was freshly burned wood in many of them.  I picked a good day to come here, as the only other people that I saw the entire day were on the trail heading out as I was going in.

This particular spot caught my eye due to the bright pink spray paint, so I walked over to get a closer look.  What I found was particularly moving to me, and I knew I had found my shot.  The message says “Look Up, Give Thanks”.  In this unique location, I can’t imagine a more prescient message than this one.  You can’t be in an environment like this and not give thanks for being in such a wondrous place.  40 Acre Rock is surrounded by woods on all sides, so it’s a hike to get there.  When you get there, though, it’s like being on the surface of the moon.  It really is surreal.  Nothing but solid rock as far as the horizon.  It’s truly humbling to be there and experience it firsthand, to see the rock stretch out as far as you can see, ringed with forest.  What a magnificent place.  So I took the sign’s advice – I sat there catching my breath, looking up at the bright blue sky, and giving thanks that I was able to be there and enjoy the quietude of my surroundings.

Nikon D200, Rokinon 8mm @f/8, ISO 400, 9 exposure HDR