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what the forest holds, and a gift from Charles Dickens

Once upon a time the renowned British author Charles Dickens visited the United States. While his visit ultimately did not leave him with positive thoughts for our country, he did perform one act that to this day remains a mystery.

During his journey across the United States he made his way to Virginia around February or March in 1842. It is documented well that Dickens left with a distaste of Virginia because of its dependency on slavery. However, when a request is made of him, something that ultimately will align Virginia with the only evidence of his visit to the United States, he complies.

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Charles Dickens

Deep in the thickets of Cumberland State Forest remains the unique literary gift that Charles Dickens bestowed upon a grieving family. On March 12, 1842, thirteen month old Charles Irving Thornton died and upon the request of a family friend, (thought to be American writer, Washington Irving) Dickens inscribed the epitaph that now rests quietly on the aging tombstone that remains hidden from the world.

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the conditions of the area where the tombstone rests

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To find it is no easy task as the forest likes to keep its treasures however with careful steps and patience, I was able to find the Thornton Family Cemetery where it remains and is quite literally deep in the shadows of the woods. Without the help of technology by way of my smart compass, I doubt I would have been able to uncover its hiding place.

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As you can see from the images I was able to capture, it shows its age, the writing barely legible in some places and the tombstone itself suffering a full horizontal crack along its base. The following is the epitaph that Dickens inscribed upon it:

“THIS IS THE GRAVE

of a Little Child whom God in his goodness Called to a Bright Eternity when he was very young. Hard as it is for Human Affection to reconcile itself to Death In any shape (and most of all, perhaps First In This)

HIS PARENTS can even now believe That it will be a Consolation to them Throughout their lives and when they shall have grown old and grey always to think of him as a Child IN HEAVEN and Jesus Called a little Child unto him, and set him in the midst of them. He was the son of ANTHONY and M.I. THORNTON Called CHARLES IRVING. He was born on the 20 th day of January 1841, and he died on the 12 th day of March 1842. Having lived only 13 months and 19 days.”

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in the foreground the home thought to be that of the Thornton’s. In the backdrop the woods where remnants of the family cemetery remains
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plaque that hides off to the right of the tombstone honoring its commemoration into National Historic Places

While it was commemorated in the Virginia Landmarks Register and in the National Register of Historic Places in 1980, its remembrance thrives only with the trees within the forest. The family cemetery as a whole which seemed to be about five visible headstones, in its nearly two hundred year old existence has been taken over by nature. It’s significance, however is still very much prominent. This literary gift remains the only one of its kind in the United States and one of only two of existence in the world, the other belonging to that of Dickens’ sister-in-law.

It was a rewarding experience to actually find it albeit sad to see the lack of its upkeep. Its literary significance shall remain and the gift it became to a grieving family shall never die.

 

 

 

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aionion

the scent that bemoans me of a dying rose

not of death inferring, but of life preserving

through its folds it clutches senses

charting courses through darkened, rusted fences

or atop mountains shedding waterfalls as a love commences

unyielding layers, partaking of endless shades anew

unfurling through time, a slow peruse

all in a smell, as my imagination ensues

Transylvanian Lullaby-Erutan

inspired by the roses my daughter received for her graduation, i captured these images and as the scents enraptured my senses, the thoughts came. how beautiful a dying flower is to me. how even in its seemingly decay, behind the scenes, beneath the folds, life still breathes.

thank you for reading and for more of my flora photography you can view my gallery here.

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odyssey

the quiet lean of a lover’s need

reveals itself in steps unseen

for love is sure, a patience that rests between

the twilight flecks of painted citrine

to scarlet lights standing guard, flooding shade so as to offer the way

beyond night’s odyssey, where it awakens, setting sail to a new day….

Daniela SpectorLife Long Odyssey

Captured these images near and at the site of Old Point Comfort Lighthouse that stands guard along the Chesapeake Bay. As the second oldest lighthouse in the bay and still operational, it’s characteristic red light appeals to the romantic in me. Can you not imagine two lovers being separated by the sea and he, through raging waters awakens to the light of her heart warming his sea-chilled skin, calling out to him, leading him to safer waters, to shore, to her waiting love.

I hope you enjoyed the journey and a special thanks to Laura lauradenise.home.blog for inspiring me to combine my love of poetry and photography in this piece. Her “walks” are healing wonders!

Thank you for reading and for more of my photography you can visit my gallery here.

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oz

collecting always collecting

those pocket-watch of moments

where we cried

where we grew

taking steps forward

holding hands in those backwards ones too

painting dead end rainbows

into yellow brick roads

where lions and red ruby slippers

fought off the relentless hungry toads

chasing storms even as the winds blew

watching as those colors bled

its there I saw this you

in truth a beauty to behold

in this a quest

of renewable hues

Perfect CureGalaxy Dynamite

 

this musical selection I’ve paired with my words here I’m proud to announce is my nephew’s band whom also are the inspiration behind the band in my first romance novel, Shifting Gears. The image I captured along a country road just after the rain as I was chasing trees. For more of my photography you can find my gallery here

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season in she

the leaves were on fire

drunk from a bokeh sun

curving to the harvest moon

longing to come undone

 

in quiet repose each did

let down their hair and run

with no want of looking back

with fascination having won

-image taken by me of freshly cut tiger lilies gifted to me. for more of my flora photography you can visit my gallery here

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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mirror

lace puddles

weave between the weeds of the sea

lapping slowly

gingerly

resting upon the shallows in she

barefoot in silt paths she roams

collecting pieces

from the liquid mirror shored

——for the sea remembers

captured these images from a day on the beach and was enraptured at how I was able to capture the cerulean in the waves. i’m thankful that in living on the coast, the ocean is in my backyard. like for most, the music of the waves is medicinal, replenishing ones soul. For more of my photography you can visit my gallery here.

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awakening

the sun drops beneath the day

as twilight emerges from your touch

a quiet awakening of dreams

our moon holds

-just breathe-

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wildly so-photography

my heart it bleeds, wildly so

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I captured these images during this season i like to call the awakening, I take every opportunity to find new trails and beloved known ones to find my own sense of renewal. Nature shall always mimic life as with every new journey, a new bloom unfurls.

Thank you for viewing and if you’d like to view more of my flora images, you can visit my gallery here

 

 

-just breathe-

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level: a haiku

every level shed

she pockets a little sun

to feed the flowers

 

-just breathe-