Wishing you a beautiful New Year filled with health, happiness, and love. May we all be inspired by sweet memories of the ones we are missing.
Send me some sun. Need more sunlight now, please. Trying not to complain but it’s been pretty dim around here lately. It’s driven me to light candles, sit for hours before a sunlamp, and beg my best friend to build campfires. Depressed. Desperate. Seasonal Affective Disorder. Already. It’s only November. Winter hasn’t even started yet and I’m missing the sun.
On a class trip to Cornell University’s Lake Source Cooling Plant, lying flat on my back as if on a beach, I stared at the ceiling and focused on the disc-like thing that stood out amid the chaotic collection of apparatus up there. Then, in Photoshop, I tried to turn the thing into a warm, welcoming heavenly body. But there’s nothing quite like our solar system’s beautiful star.
At Barton Valley Farm in Freeville, New York, the horses were warm and welcoming. They seemed delighted about the small group of photography students jockeying around them in the muddy pasture to get the best shots. Having the smallest camera in the group, I wondered if any of the other photographers were experiencing the same problem I was as the horses kept smushing their snouts into my lens. At one point while I was clicking away to get a close-up of one horse’s nose, two other horses closed in behind me sniffing and gently puffing, maybe even nibbling a bit, at my hair. In the middle of the three, it felt like I was being hugged. Great medicine for healing from loss and grief.
The day after I got my COVID booster I could barely move. There was no way I would be able to do anything useful. Feeling old and sore and exhausted, I hung about the house hoping no one would find me in my embarrassingly lifeless state.
At Cornell’s Hydroplant, days before, I’d photographed this old fan. It was standing still in the middle of the churning, pulsing, loud busy-ness of the place. Everything around it seemed shiny and polished. But dust and debris clogged the fan’s blades; it looked like it had been sitting there useless for decades, like it would never be able to function again. The ancient thing wasn’t performing, wasn’t contributing. It wasn’t even particularly beautiful. Why was it there?
Lovingly, in Photoshop, I turned it into a huge sun taking up all the sky.
It isn’t just that there’s been a ton of rain. The sky has been gray for days, sometimes with fat clouds lumbering across, and sometimes it’s like an empty sky-in-waiting: plain dull white, like anything might materialize from it and fall to the earth. More rain. Hail. Snow.
It’s not even November yet and I’m aching for the summer sun.
At nearby University Sand and Gravel there were magnificently rusted tractors and old equipment painted yellow and red. That thing in the middle of tires—what’s it called? A wheel maybe—was screaming to me that it had a greater purpose than holding together some ancient truck. Perhaps it could hold ME together. Until springtime when it’s warm and bright out again. I planted the wheel high in my fabricated landscape to turn it into a sun. Next, I was going to paste in a strip of rocks to create a horizon line and foreground, but the only natural bright light I’d managed to capture in my photo was creeping up from the bottom. I couldn’t bear to cover it up.
To save my pond from choking, I raked long sheets of algae out of it and tossed them into great piles on the banks. Desperate to save their cruelly upended lives, snails and other tiny creatures wriggled in the folds of the stuff. I threw it all off into nearby bushes. But not before photographing the exquisite felting of the raw fibers.
Much later I came upon the photo of the white allium ball I’d shot earlier, and knew I had found my landscape of the week.