When I was growing up in the Shenandoah Valley with my sisters and brother, we did not know that we were living in a famous place that people all over the world knew.We did not know we were living in an historical place where life changing battles had been fought and sons had died or notorious generals had tried to scorch the very life from the fertile land to lay it in ruin.
We heard these things spoken of, the fragmented words of adults that trickle down into young ears as children play and run past. We heard them and perhaps we should have paid more attention, but we were busy! There was so much to do and how could this all be true! We saw no scares or smoke, only way too much to do before the sun went down and beauty to chase...
... always beauty to chase! It was like a thirst that could not be quenched.
There were green fields to race through and hunt wild strawberries and baby bunnies in and rolling forest of oaks to climb and imagine as kingdoms of fairies and rivers like sparkling liquid crystal to splash into and chase your friends through like river otters.
What we did know!
We knew that we lived in a place of vast and gentle beauty that never seemed to stop, of this I was certain.
We had checked on this, from the highest oak we could climb,
to the deepest we could dive into frigid crystal waters, as high as we could hike into the braided blue mountains...
We could not find the end of beauty!
Even at night when the green bowl of valley was filled with deep black and purple shadows and sparks of golden light twinkled on across farmland and hills, the beauty never ended.
When finally our young gaggle of sisters, brothers and cousins, had spent all the young energy our bodies had and could chase no more we plopped down onto the grassy mountain top that was our home, lay flat on our backs looking up into the sky, the beauty never ended. Sparkling stars glistening through the endless liquid indigo of space above us, so pretty it hurt to look at and someone would whisper softly like a prayer..."Shenandoah... the daughter of the stars!"
We would all sigh because we all knew the words of the "Old Ones' and we knew that this is of what they spoke. Laughing we would realize suddenly that we were like puppies chasing their tales, the chase would never end and that was wonderful!
Drifting off to sleep I would think of the First People, the native people that had named the Valley their Daughter of the Stars and I knew with certainty that they too had been awestruck, had become "chasers" and had discovered the same secret! A secret whispered to us from the stars! To step into the Valley was to become a child of The Daughter of the Stars and that her beauty had soaked into our very souls and we would have the thirst to chase forever!
Now looking back I do not wonder why there are so many people in the valley who are wonderful artist and creators of beauty. I think the very act of stepping into the valley inspires the need to chase beauty, to look for it's end and source. An endless thirst to be ever chased.!
Artist of the valley may have long been over shadowed by the fame of Civil War history, colonist, presidential birthplaces, even the valley it's self. Maybe rightly so. Perhaps art is not to be as easily noticed among the natural beauty around and
...we need to finally slow down enough to notice all the little things that make up the Shenandoah.
The good news, there is a new place here in the Daughter of the Stars, something for the chasers of beauty! A place for the work of valley artist to finally be noticed and shine just like the stars that fill the dark sky above our sleeping valley.
A small artist village of sorts, nestled along a creek within historic Dayton where ducks dive the shallows near by...
and cows graze on bright green pastures. Where horse and buggies trot by ...
and those that want may stroll among the works of artist who all chase beauty and express it in their own way. This new place is the Artisan Courtyard of Dayton Virginia
A quiet little place where all the beauty chasers gather their favorite piece and their interpretation of the Valley
If you wish to experience the the Shenandoah Valley, our Daughter of the Stars, then drive to the town of Dayton and along the way you will see all the things I have written of here. You will see the famous places carved of time and history, houses where makers of our country lived and land that rolls in layer of color that will take your breath away. When you get to the little creek called Cook's Creek where the ducks are waiting and sunlight dapples through the trees, you will know you are there and you will know it is time to slow down a little, walk the stone pathways and visit.
You will find art of all kinds, traditional and modern...
...and all reflecting the beauty around you..
And certainly you will find a moment when you will realized that you too have chased the beauty of the valley, tried to find it's end and source.
You may even find a little bit of it to take home with you, created by artist that have been chasing beauty for years in the Daughter of the Stars.
The Artisan Courtyard
42 south and turn right onto Eberly Rd.
Turn left at stop sign., turn onto Bowman Rd. at Cook's Creek Park
The Artisan Courtyard of Dayton Virginia will have a grand opening for the 2012 season on April 7th
8:30 to 5:30.
There will be many artist and crafters from around Virginia exhibiting their creations including permanent studio galleries, wine tasting and live music. For more information please check out the links below...