Blackbirds rate among my most favorite: their silhouettes, their size, their song and seeing them in flocks on white snow is like nothing else.
The black-oiled sunflower seeds were the great attractor in this current snow.
There were seeds on the porch table, too, but that space belongs to the Juncos.
It’s hard to adjust this landscape with the events of January 6th. That the land can be so miraculous, so welcoming and our politics can be so ugly and people so vile.
A brief snowfall last night during our last walk gave a Holiday Card Moment. The camera converts the flakes to darting sticks implying an experience of mean sleet rather than soft snow. The reality was the sweet slow fall of soft flakes. The marvel of the camera and its ability to create a different reality from fact effects so much in our world now. It also points out in high relief how incapable viewers are of perceiving the difference.
It’s miserable outside, but the flock is tough and takes the weather with a much better attitude than I do. I’m calling Zach, Kool today because he thinks he’s the most important Goose in Columbia Country, maybe even all of New York State. He’s intruding on my nicely composed photograph and doesn’t care because the world revolves around him. This is Gander Narcissism in its full expression. Ruthie, his wife, is in the foreground blending into the land.
Yesterday morning a single-engine plane flew low back and forth overhead. Its target was the big apple orchard behind my neighbor’s land. Its insect buzz was alarming even though I knew what it was doing. Fruit farmers hire these flyers to spread fertilizer or anti-fungal chemicals, but in the very cold weather they are used to stir up the air and bring down the heated air toward the ground. I was already feeling as if I were channeling the Blitz and tasted the terror of WWII, and the shot I got as it went on a loop over the house confirmed it. The power of images to set a place and a time — even one I never experienced except through media — is real.
Today is a modest Saturday, rain expected and the air conducive to just listening in the quiet. This countryside induces reverie. Everything becomes important but conjoined in equalities, nothing more important than any other thing, a union of the perfect whole.
The fullness of those Morning Glory leaves has given such pleasure this year. But, the soppy summer, rain every day in July, seemed to prevent many blossoms. They are deep cobalt blue when they appear. As the freeze approaches, these last few seem especially precious and important. I wanted to show the velvety quality of all those vines and leaves so they almost seem like the house’s pubic hair.
Twenty years ago, the night before what we now all call 9/11, I was having dinner with a friend from the gallery with her little black and white puppy, Tuxedo. We ate in the kitchen at the back of my floor-through loft at 156 Chambers Street. There were two ceiling-high windows that were filled with the North Tower a few blocks south. One of the things that we discussed were the Artist Studios in the World Trade Center, a program developed for artists to have space to work and magnificent views over our beloved city. My gallery had arranged for me to get one of those choice spaces and yet I kept putting off doing the finishing things needed to make it happen In a dreamlike state, whenever I was asked about it I’d automatically mouth: “Well…it will take care of itself….” but for some reason I could never get myself to do that last thing I needed to do to make it happen, some paperwork I recall or maybe just a phone call. It was like I went into a hypnotic disconnect whenever it was mentioned. Yet it was a real opportunity, one I wanted. My gallery friend, again, urged me as we were drinking red, eating pasta with tomato sauce as the North Tower smiled down on us. She said to get on with it, that she had already spoken to the director of it who was waiting for me to complete whatever I hadn’t. “It’s yours!” she emphasized, “Just do it!” “Well…it will take care of itself….” I blankly repeated.
It is things like that come back to me as we honor all who perished and who living were forever changed, hurt, and scarred. The smallest incidents seem now to glow with meaning. It may be the nature of tragedy that we seize on anything that gives us an explanation of our supreme connectedness. My friend is now thriving in Texas, Tuxedo has already gone to God, as have all of my pets from then and here I am living out in the country in the Hudson Valley far removed from Tribeca and the reminders of those events. That evening sitting with my dear friend, enjoying our meal, patting her sweet new puppy, and catching up on things, marks for me the last moment when things were normal. I feel so lucky to have lived before that day and to have known life before Terror overtook us.
This is the ebbing of summer and the trickling beginning of fall.
The corn is at its end,
the peaches are perfection.
I made way for my plate
on the worktable so I could get through with it
fast and get back to cutting a lino plate.
The long weekend is delicious and
so is the corn and the peach.