Here’s a scene from the deck of our little house in Cherry Grove. I had it in mind that I’d start with some color then go in and add structure with pen, but I quite liked how serene and unfettered this looked so decided to leave it as mere suggestions of the pool and flower pots.
An unaccustomed sunlight filled the train car, formed faint prisms on the large windows where some chemical detergent hadn’t rinsed clean away. The scenes blurring past through the glass were all familiar for their mundane repetition along the eastern seaboard. Sometimes rows of identical houses, sometimes the iron tangle of abandoned industry. Occasionally the sleek cool of a body of water, blue and filled with secrets.
And the very next day, the weather betrayed us. Winds, rain, and an overall gloom have replaced that welcome sun in which I sat reading outside the train station mid afternoon.
Yesterday was the first day since I arrived upstate that it broke sunny instead of clouds attended by rain. It was welcome timing, as we’d long planned a day on Canandaigua Lake where my middle brother and his family have a new lake house. It was breezy and sunny with a brilliant sky and the water was pleasant for swimming. (Some of these photos were filtered through the Nik collection.)
Up the hill and across the road from their slice of waterfront is a shale-lined ravine that torrents in heavy rains, bringing a fresh slough of sedimentary shards after every storm down to the edgewater. We spent fair amount of time skipping stones across the shallows, bare feet in the cool water.
Here are some selects from my photographs during Light City Baltimore 2017. Attributions of the various installations (as many as I could gather) are listed in the photo captions. There were many more installations than shown here, but some of them simply don’t convey well in still images.
Some fun lighting at Kelley’s house in Baltimore. Mini Light City right in the living room!
I got loads of photographs from installations around the Inner Harbor last night. I’ll be posting some of those soon.
It’s disconcerting to run into an oversized facsimile of my own stylized face in the halls of the university. Giving my talk on Saturday evening. Super nervous! But looking forward to it, and seeing the illuminations of Light City around the Inner Harbor.
Christmas day was sunny and crisp. In the afternoon the extended family gathers at my cousin’s house in a neighborhood filled with lovely houses from the 1920s— steep pitched rooftops, Tudor woodwork, stucco and stone— surrounded by towering old trees and a slim carpet of remaining snow.
After dinner a few of us walked around the neighborhood to fend off food comas and to see lights and decorations or warm glows and twinkling trees in the windows.
Cold and picturesque, the Farm this week; a winter idyll. The drive upstate was unfettered by traffic or difficulties; highway dark on the eclipsed solstice, save the odd bling-lit freight truck. Not a wink, not a star—no Orion out the passenger window.
every detail clear,
tin cup and rippled mirror.
The day is bright and songless
—from Morning in the Burned House, by Margaret Atwood
(An excerpt from a poem shared by a friend this morning; the title of this post is from same)
. . .
Spent two days camping upstate midweek, and the first day was clear and beautiful, temperate. The sky-blue sky and stark white clouds reflected on the stillness of the pond. After sundown: a sky full of glitter— so many stars it was difficult to find Orion as we peered up through the tall trees.
Day two broke wan and grey with the shrieks of crows overhead, tricksters. Autumn had arrived in earnest, layers needed against the chill, but it was a fine way to transition the seasons, in a hilly wooded landscape.
Each successive month of summer leaves us in its wake faster than the previous— longing for 9:30 sunsets, never quite knowing what time it is for the wanton excess of sunlight.
This summer has held some challenges and sad moments, a couple more of which I learned about on Sunday. 2016 has been an unstable year, and persistently so.
Last week my horoscope ended with this:
Expect a breakthrough that initially resembles a breakdown.
To which my internal response is “expect nothing,” and then I’m reminded of this perennial bit of wisdom from Oil Notes, by Rick Bass:
Luck is a residual of preparation.
Post Script— In hindsight this post reads a little sad, but it’s not sad, it’s only honest. This year has certainly held more than just challenges and sad bits— but all the bits are necessary.