ONE/PHOTO: What the thistle tells

Photo by Water Light

Above is one of the many stellar up-close-and-personal photos from Nature shared on the Instagram account of Water Light. The West Virginia native describes herself as “an Appalachian musician, herbalist, poet and a mystic who devotes her presence to peace, children, healing, and love.” Below are the words that accompanied her thistle portrait, as each of her posts includes rooted, informative, and insightful commentary.

By Water Light

the ants quickly took to the milk thistle this year. her bloom doesn’t last long. maybe two days. they seem to be in sync with this knowing, almost as if there is a pulse they can feel when she begins her bloom. her vibrance is unmatched to any other flower, by far. she is a self seeding annual. the marvelous wonder about self seeding plants is that you have to let the flower head wilt and die at her own pace. it is a relationship of patience. as a plant steward, you learn to allow a plant to move through her all of her phases naturally. if you clip the head too soon, she won’t produce seeds. but if you wait, eventually, her bloom will dry and drop to the ground. if you are lucky, you might get another cycle of bloom in the fall, but if winter comes early, you will have to wait another year to see this beauty come to life. even for just two days of sheer beauty, the wait is always worth it. we can give ourselves the same grace to move through our phases in life: our emotions, our healing, our moods, our energy levels. we are ever changing, as well. if there is one truth plants have gifted me this year, it is that there is a sweet beauty in all cycles of life. if you are struggling with where you are in life right now, just know that if you allow your life time and open yourself to appreciating the present, you will transform again and again. I promise


We recommend to you Water Light’s Instagram account at Screen capturing just a couple of week’s worth of her posts will show her roving eye for Nature’s wonderment:


5 PHOTOS: Mountains, Bubbles, Light Shows, Forests & Faces: May 3, 2022: Five photos. Five photos we like, shot somewhere in and around West Virginia. A few words on who, what, and where. The why is in the seeing.

NOTE TO READERS: Since its founding in May 2020, (a project of, has been a free online magazine of lively, opinionated & alternative writing and imagery about West Virginia. Help us stay in the business of offering ad-free, worthy content. CLICK HERE OR THE ‘DONATE’ BUTTON TO SUPPORT THE CAUSE.



1 | EDITORS/NOTE: From Legislators to Lost River, thistles to abortion bans: In the midst of all the normal chaos of American and West Virginian political life, some good news breaks out. Plus, some worthy tales from worthy lives around the state. An overview of WestVirginiaVille’s August 2022 edition.

2 | EDITOR/IAL: Score one — a big one — for Manchin: The Earth wins one (with some important caveats) as Joe Manchin finally steps up and does right by the Biden administration’s grand climate hopes. It’s not everything, but it is a serious something.

3 | FIRST/PERSON: Why I Have Four Names: “They were both the most cussed, stubborn people you’d ever meet, my Dad and Mom, when they come together over something that stood them apart. “Both would not give up their position on the proper naming of you,” said K. “So, they agreed to disagree. And gave you all four names.” | By Joseph “Billy” Corduroy, reprinted from

4 | ‘KEEP THE DOOR CLOSED’: Inside the chaotic week when West Virginia Republicans’ efforts to ban abortion stalled: “I can’t hear,” Senate President Craig Blair repeated from his dais. The body had just passed a bill that would ban nearly all abortions in West Virginia. The remaining pro-abortion rights protesters had packed themselves into the hallway beside the chamber in their 10th straight hour of demonstrations. “No justice! No peace!” | By Ian Karbal, reprinted from Mountain State Spotlight

5 | FIRST/PERSON: ‘A Wild Woman Love Story’: Once upon a time, a round-faced girl with curly hair and identity issues was told by someone (that genuinely loved her) that she was not “model pretty” like her sister but that she could be “mother pretty” … | By Angelica Gilleran, reprinted from BLACK BY GOD: The West Virginian

6 | PICTURE/SHOW: A West Virginia Walkabout from Elkins to Lost River: If you could use a West Virginia roadtrip, here’s a vicarious one, traversing from Elkins to Lost River. You’ll cover lots of ground. From August Heritage Center jamming at Davis & Elkins College, to the soothing solitude of Kimsey Run Lake in Lost River. | A original video

7 | ONE/PHOTO: What the thistle tells: ‘the ants quickly took to the milk thistle this year. her bloom doesn’t last long. maybe two days. they seem to be in sync with this knowing, almost as if there is a pulse they can feel when she begins her bloom.’ | By Water Light

8 | CHARACTERS | The One-Armed Bandit of No. 1 Holler, West Virginia: The story of the “The One-Armed Bandit” is the stuff of heroes and legends. You may not know Gary Mays’ tale, however, as the major league career the West Virginia native might have had may have been blocked by racism. Yet nothing ever kept Gary down for long. | By Douglas John Imbrogno, reprint of 2016 Charleston Gazette story

9 | VIDEO: “WATER/CLOUD/WIND/LEAF: A Hoeft Marsh Melody”: Hoeft Marsh in Greenbottom WV is where I go off to when I want to get off the timeline of the world’s news. Here’s a short, lyrical recent visit there. It’s a little fishy, too. | A original video

10 | PASSINGS: Recalling the ironic, sardonic, compassionate writings of PJ Laska: “It would be impossible for me to do justice either to his writing or to his intellectual prowess. But I will say, as a man, he always sought to share what he knew and never once came across as anything other than a person who could learn from any and everyone …”

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INDEX: A guide to the August 2022 issue of Here’s a linked guide to all the articles, essays, videos, and photographs in the August 2022 edition of

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