The Eternal Reliability of the Turning

TockTock Free Ranging in the Plant Shed, 2018, Archival Digital Print

There is reassurance in the turning of the wheel and in spite of the things that seem disruptive, each settles in and is absorbed as life continues, the sun rises and travels through the sky and sets in the west only to rise again into our eternity. Maybe not all of eternity but certainly in ours, the life of a mite relative to all time.

My new boy TickTock escaped his crate when I brought him home from a Connecticut farm and is free-ranging in the plant shed.  My confidence in being able to catch any living bird has been challenged by this fast and beautiful boy.  I keep telling him about the six hens who await his morning song and beautiful feathers but TickTock wants none of it.  He’d rather perch and poop on my washing machine.

 

The Artist’s Pleasure

Sunday Morning Convocation, 2018, Archival Digital Print

Photography as a valid member of the Fine Arts has always been problematic. What is there is there which means that the nuance and encapsulated time compression of Painting doesn’t hold the energy of a masterpiece or if it does, not in the same way. Photography is nonetheless a thrilling medium capable of both the outlandish and the sublime. The recent visit to my yard by a Bear set off ideas and potential events.  I was trying to get the feel of a Bruegel.

 

An Unexpected Visitor

 

Feeder, Lawn, Bear, 2018, Archival Digital Print

This huge fellow visited my front lawn on Tuesday morning around nine. He was only interested in bird seed and decimated the feeders. I was sitting on the back porch steps when he arrived in his black-hole black, a darkness I have never seen on an animal before and his huge brown snout. What good luck to see him so close!  After thirty minutes of looking around he wandered away.

 

July 31, 2018

The Back of the Rose at Dusk, 2018, Archival Digital Print

This has been a spectacular week in the Hudson Valley. The endless rains have stopped though it is still moist, the temperatures are comfortable and the foliage lush. Even the young Hawks are less noisy as they learn to hunt on their own. I put the first nest box in with the hens last night.   It was immediately popular.  They know what to do.  I am learning a lot and these new experiences feed my imagination and sense of wonder at the bounty of the world. There’s always too much to do, too little time and without sounding sugary I feel as if I live in an unending transcendental experience.  I do not understand how I got here but know it was destiny not mere chance.

 

Black and White and Tints

The Pond at Dusk, 2018, Archival Digital Print

Tinted photographs have appealed to me since I first tried my hand at making them. I was a child in a family with cameras. Our darkroom was on the third floor of the house, a long climb for me. The fresh prints would come into the dining room after a session (sweltering up there in the summer with no air conditioning) and we’d all look them over. My mother, a trained painter, was the prime mover in coloring them. We had a big set of Marshall’s. Those tiny metal tubes were precious jewels in comparison to the standard tube of paint. I applied the tints with Q-Tips and cotton balls.  My touch was awkward and the process required patience for the subtle effect it produced.  Too much for an eight year-old.

The effect still appeals to me.  Using digital media the work is done with the software.  Taken yesterday, the pond in the waning late light of early evening — I write “magical” too much — but it was just that.  This moment needed that haze of green accompanying the black and white underneath.

Hen’s Delight

Fresh Local Corn with a Side of Polenta, 2018, Archival Digital Print

The girls are eager for fresh corn; not so much about cooked polenta. I try various foods to see what they prefer.  It’s clear. They see the corn arrive with me and start making happy sounds — not clucks but other little sounds of pleasure in their throats.  Watermelon is a second on their goodie list.

 

Becoming Hens

The girls are growing up, 2018, Archival Digital Print

In a matter of hours, from the morning feed until the evening one, the six Claras went from adolescent chicks with pale beige feathers and lots of down showing to young hens with russet feathers, real chicken tails and the beginnings of combs. Now I wish I had been in there all day and snapped a photo once an hour.  What a transformation as life does its thing.

 

May Rain

May Rain, 2018, Archival Digital Print

Everything is muted in these spring mists, all values close and a general dreaminess about the land. I saw a social club of six Turkeys out for a walk in the mist as I was driving to the store to get, what else? bird seed. They ambled along together with full ruffled feathers so they looked like grade school bulletin board Turkeys there in the cornfield behind the homestead.

 

Two Claras

Two Claras, 2018, Archival Digital Print

This was taken over a week ago and already the girls are the size of Bantams and much more curious about the world. Clara Christina Columbus now jumps on top of the water jug to consider where she might go. To prevent her giant leap for Chickenkind I’ve added screening. The Columbus chick is the most curious of the six whereas Clara Voyant, named by my neighbor, Betty Grindrod, is dreamier and in her own world.  And Clara Madonna, the bottle blonde, is just taken with her own beauty.  Their markings and personalities are all different and I continue to marvel at the wonder of growth, DNA wiring and individuation.  My brilliant former TA John Gross is coming up from New York this weekend to help me prepare the shed and soon the outdoor pen will be replaced with a varmint proof construction.  Then we shall await the eggs.