I’m thinking here of those early French photographs I saw at The Met a long time ago. It was the Gilman Paper Photography Collection, a trove of early photographs that changed me. That show altered the course of my thinking about photography and its possibilities.
At last! Spring! We earned it this year enduring a mean winter that even now is hanging on with its icy claws. Sleet/snow last Friday, can you imagine?
Everything is in bloom and I feel so grateful to have been guided up here to the Hudson Valley. The land has taught me. I’ve become more sensitive to the quiet and the subtle changes in light and color, the goings on of wildlife and plants.
But more than that, I have had time to reflect more deeply on what painting and drawing demand. It is remarkable what a simple piece of vine charcoal can do. Even a pencil. All the world of images ready to come out and be seen stored inside, it just waits for some talent to pick it up and begin.
We are entering the second spring of the Covid-19 Pandemic. We are changed in ways that will take years to recognize and assess. As much as we want to return to the Before-Time, it isn’t possible.The future is always new but now we are conscious of this with more dread than usual. The hens peck for new worms and don’t care. They just enjoy the fresh green of the grass and the fact that they can spend the day outside.
Last night, like always, I looked up at the stars
The dogs’ last visit to the run before we go to bed.
A new storm was coming in the morning.
Weather has become tiresome.
Up there Orion was where expected
His eternal trip around the sky.
We humans form patterns
Out of the random.
Suffused with longing for spring and yet an almost gasping consciousness of the spare beauty of deep winter.
Ours is a long season, longer and more expanded by the pandemic and isolation.
Longer and more shocking as memories of the Insurrection vomit up
On the clean snow
As we wait for more.
That time when the clouds are full and the air smells of it
Every living thing knows that something is
about to happen,
The colors seem so full of themselves
I rush to get back to the house
The flock fed and
The house will feel
Everywhere are arrangements to be seen and noticed.
An extraneous proof of a new print
A window, a view into another world
The edge of a paper cabinet
A perfect rectangle
A favorite book and
Always the plugs
Inside a hermit
though always connected
to the juice.
We are deep now in the pandemic, many of us straddling two domains. There’s the world of our isolated lives and the world of the media. Our personal lives can be anything depending on circumstances, ingenuity, curiosity and the ability to reflect and learn, whereas our media life is filled with death and suffering and the continual sideshow. Hope now must be self generated. Learning about the people we’ve elected is sobering. I have concluded that many in Congress are marginal and ignorant. Perhaps this explains why they don’t understand the basic tenets of science and stand instead as beacons of ignorance. This governor of Florida looks like he would have been incapable of success in any other business he tried. Poor fellow, politics was probably the only home he could find that paid his bills. As to Trump, lugging a long record of failure behind him, only politics was available to him. At least he has been consistent.
One of the gifts this time has given us is the chance to remember and reflect. We have gotten in touch with people we forgot about or had a spat with and the reconnecting feels good and mends. This reminder of last chances and wanting to have a settled heart has been a benefit of this scourge.
The land is ever filled with beauty and solace. The moon shines down on my studio. The coyotes howl. The deep winter is on the doorstep. And, at least for today, I am safe.
I hope you, Dear Reader, are too.
Homage to Bonnard’s The Cherry Tart, Virginia is as lured as is Bonnard’s Dachshund.