Inside

Singing to the Radio, 2018, Archival Digital Print

The interior life becomes more pleasurable during these dark winter times. Everything contributes to the pleasures of the home — a singing puppy, a hot stew with a glass of red wine, the sound of the owl in the pine at night — the pleasures are simple but mean everything in the resonance of being.

 

New Snow

Fence Pattern, January, 2018, Archival Digital Print

A heavy snow, the world is white in the early morning hours. I’m so glad this isn’t a commuting day and I can stay inside and revel in the warmth of the hearth.

 

Snow Recordings

Highway of Tracks, 2018, Archival Digital Print

On the way to the studio I noticed the collection of tracks going down to the creek. Crossing the road where the light was better, I looked down onto the ice covered creek and there was a highway of tracks, a variety of species and their particular mark of presence running its length. I found a Coyote, a Red Fox, a Rabbit, and other things I didn’t recognize, one, I think may have been a Mink. All this happens as I go about my human concerns and they go about theirs.

 

The clarity of the cold

Trees as It Snows, 2018, Archival Digital Print

A week of cold and a deepening appreciation of shelter. The phrase a roof over your head takes on meaning in sub-zero weather.  These days I am grateful to be warm, even in four layers indoors, to have a fireplace, a stash of dry firewood, a reliable furnace, a car that starts, and the pleasures of snow dreams. Last night I met a new family.  I wish I could recall the interior of their living room which had a lot of antique paisley drapes. Their son had introduced me to them.  I had met him at a party.  The rest is vapor.  I woke up having enjoyed my dream visit to a warmer clime.  In this frigid time the nights hold magic.

 

Cold

A Hungry Hawk, 2018, Archival Digital Print

Just a snapshot from my phone yesterday, a hungry young Cooper’s Hawk has been hanging around hoping to get a warm meal. Earlier he was sitting atop one of the feeders  he was so desperate to eat. The birds disappear as soon as they catch sight and the place is empty until he leaves.

It must be very hard on a young bird trying to learn to survive in such threatening cold. Last night I watched again the PBS documentary on The Donner Party. It is tonic to anyone who feels sorry for himself or indulges in self-pity, a reminder of what being cold, far from home and lost can mean.  A young woman who survived wrote to her friend about the experience.   She ends with this advice, “Don’t take no shortcuts and hurry along the way.”  This young Hawk will have to learn that.

 

Mid-December in Our Chaotic Country

Car, Tree, Doves, 2017, Archival Digital Print

We are nudging toward the shortest day and the deepest of Winter. It’s a quiet time of survival, the silence for consideration, and the warmth of the hearth, even in this awful political landscape that torments us day in day out. I find the pleasures of living on the land remind me of the power of nature’s rhythms.  It reassures me.  Not all sappy sweetness, I conclude that we will never return to the way it was, what my generation assumed was the norm, the given. We watch, as befuddled spectators, the dismantling of the things we assumed were forever embedded in our democracy. Both parties sold their souls to corporate interests decades ago, and we have no one who works for us now. Greed is King.  Every good thing is absorbed and corporatized or destroyed. For an artist there is the work and either naively or because we have no choice, we keep making and hoping that something good will survive.  Were my creative life not so essential and nor so rewarding, I would be very morose now.

 

Hudson River Light

Cornfield, Late November, 2017, Archival Digital Print

The cornfield behind the homestead arcs now after it has been reduced to stubble. Here the herd of Deer roam foraging during the winter. The Hudson is directly ahead and the Catskills beyond. The effect of the river is profound on the light on the eastern side. It has inspired painters for over two hundred years.

 

Books A’ Plenty

Sagging Bookcase, 2017, Archival Digital Print

The marvels of bookcases! They hold our books of course, but memories, notes slipped between pages, ideas we forgot about, and trinkets and an occasional talisman we want to have near to touch and fondle. This bookcase was here in the house when I moved in. I assume it was constructed by the owner and never intended for a library like mine.

In my old place I had a hundred feet of bookshelves but ran out of space. Books were stacked everywhere. Now some are in my studio and in the house on the floor, in other rooms, and covering a wall in the guest bedroom upstairs.

Dark Season

Time Change, 2 P.M., 2017, Archival Digital Print

Rain was approaching so it was darker than usual, but even an hour makes a difference in our perception of time.  We know that Winter is just at the edge and moving toward us.  Last night a Coyote was so near the house, at first I thought it was a feral cat yowling.  He called and my female pup answered.  This back and forth, a plaintive duet, went on for hours as I tried to sleep. But, it gave me good dreams.