Early Morning, The Last Storm of Winter, 2018, Archival Digital Print
We have passed it. The last storm of this winter came last night, wet, soggy and all its determination gone. Winter has given up and this is his last effort in the losing struggle. My studio is safe and dry, the plumber came today and repaired the leak in the house and now the ceiling must dry before the contractor can repair. All is well on the Homestead. Even the Coyotes were more tuneful last night.
On the national front, it’s not so good. We learn of the Secretary of State’s dismissal, this apparently done not by personal message but a tweet. The shadow side of our national nature stares at us unblinking. No icing nor military music, nor parades will cover up the darkness that is lose on the land. The Democrats are like the old Kaiser, desperate for power but too old and weak to take a lead in opposition. They are no where these days. Does anyone remember history?
Wire, Snow, 2018, Archival Digital Print
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Wire, Snow continues my attraction to the minimal which reads like drawing. The winter is the time it is easiest to see these expressions on the land. To my continuing surprise, every day brings something new to my eyes and senses. I had set up this crude wire circle to protect the shoots that were starting to peek above the earth. I wanted to keep the puppies from running over them. Once the big snow came, it turned into another order of visual surprise.
March Snow, 2018, Archival Digital Print
Yesterday’s storm was unique for me in that the snow was slow and steady but there was no wind. The flakes were in no hurry to reach the ground and the blanket rose and rose steadily from the afternoon into the night. I had so many dreams last night! I went to several places and met new characters. Maybe the snow brought magic. To wake up in a warm bed with all this white outside was delicious. Each and every day is a new experience here.
Now I have a leak in the ceiling of the nerve center where my books and computers live. The plumber has been called. I’m a pro with leaks having had so many over the years of living in lofts and rolls of plastic always at the ready. I’m going to check on the studio now, but I have a new roof there so expect it to be fine.
Backyard Sheet Music, 2018, Archival Digital Print
There are so many accidental finds in my day. The acuities I’ve developed here in Columbia County are different from those I learned in my years in Manhattan. Whom to avoid on the subway is a subtle skill. In an imperceptible glance we sense the stay-aways in a car, and what the general mood is. All of us new arrivals remember the joy we felt entering a car at rush hour and seeing big swaths of empty seats. A miracle of good luck. That odor stays in ones nostrils for much of the day. We didn’t know what that empty space telegraphed. But, we were fast learners, too. Walking down a street we learned to sense trouble and differentiate it from excitement.
Now and then I can feel an animal looking at me even though I don’t see it, a gaze zeroing in on me that triggers a primal nerve embedded in my neanderthal self. Just as when the dogs go out in the morning, they know when an intruder has been nearby — recently it has been Coyotes. It is part of who we originally were. My Pyr Shep Billy learned the scent of the Black Snake he encountered one afternoon in the driveway in our short stay in Virginia. He was a city boy just relocated to the country. He never forgot it and sniffs with cautious recognition when serpents are around up here. These hints of primal knowing make me think of our Native Americans who lived with the land. We must have seemed to them like the tourists on the subway seem to us — unknowing and unaware of the flood of signals around them, the cues of how to live. For them to be human was to be part of the land not against it, not in battle with it, not eager to steal from it nor unmindful to give back in equal measure. Our out-of-balance natures missed all those signals in our greedy wanting and now we’re in trouble.
I feel lucky for these glimmers. I feel lucky to live in an area where the Organic Farming movement is already established. The land does feel different up here. I cannot describe it, but it startled me the first time I walked on the soil of an organic farm because the earth radiates in a different way. To experience it is to know it. Why not send the President up here for a few weeks without his gadgets and Twitter feed, without his hot blonde women and toadyish men, and permit him to sit in the backyard and watch and listen, to follow the arc of the sun and the moon. It’s a gift he will most likely never have. He won’t see the backyard sheet music, nor feel the critter’s gaze, nor be surprised by a Black Snake, nor engage the wonder of the planet. A loss for him and for our home, Mother Earth.
Trees from the Train, 2018, Archival Digital Print
Dense fog has settled over us this morning. It is a misting facial to the land, so damp that droplets form on my skin almost as soon as I go out to feed the birds. The Coyotes are hanging around much closer than last year, and noisy at night. The dogs smell them and growl, then bark, protecting the homestead. When we go out in the morning they immediately find the vile spot that these interlopers marked. But, me, I am teased by hints of spring and all critters are welcome.
Two Horses just out of the Barn, 2018, Archival Digital Print
Billy and I drove up to North Chatham to pick up tick and flea meds for the puppies. Coming back to the car, it was just the moment when two striking Thoroughbreds were let out of the barn. To watch these two, their pleasure at being free, actually kicking up their heels and stretching their long muscles, their playfulness with each other, was to step into another world. We are all eager for spring. I’m predicting that it will come early. I need to believe this.
Dog Waiting in the Car, 2018, Archival Digital Print
The layers of place appealed to me in this photograph, not only my private humor in the situation, but that where things are is so confusing. I had taken some boxes from the house that I wanted to put into the back shed. I loaded them into the car and took Billy along. Once parked, I left him in the car while I opened the gate. He grew restless and annoyed and discovered that he could blow the horn. It recalled my impatient father when I was a teenager and taking too long to primp.
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.
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.
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.