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The World, In Retreat. October 24, 2011

Posted by littlebangtheory in Art and Nature, Love and Death.
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Ah, the lushness of summer.  The fulsome green of the lawn springing back at every step, the torpid afternoons in a slow motion quest for shade.

And then, the crisp morning air and predictably ridiculous colors of autumn, sharp and fresh and visually alive like no other season of the year.

And now, this:

The leaves have largely taken flight, carpeting the ground and gutters and back roads with their faded forms, the yellows and reds resolving into ochers, self-composting into a faintly fetid film of veins and edges and visions of their past glory.

And the farms, the fields, the fertile lands, draining the suppleness from their delicate parts, stiffening, transforming their white noise rustle into a rattle of resistance and, finally, accepting that they are to return to the earth, become carbon and nitrogen and a part of next season’s promise.

The broad leaves of corn husks surrender to the season, opening wide to reveal their porcelain offering to The Next Time, when the moist soil and insistent sun will call them to do it all again:

[Elliot surprised me here with a twist of his eye and an unanticipated eight degrees of swing, planting his plane of sharp focus down along this deserving cornrow.

Nice job, Kid.]

Sunderland, MA. October 22, 2011

Posted by littlebangtheory in Art and Nature.
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A Saturday morning errand in Hadley turned into a circuitous ride home through North Hadley and into Sunderland, and a pre-planned, productive day devolved into a swivel-headed odyssey in search of Beauty.

I hate  it when that happens.

But happen it did, and nothing got crossed off my “to do” list.  Instead I mudded around on farm roads, keeping an eye out for folks who might own the place and appreciate me asking if they minded.  [As kind of an aside, people almost never mind me photographing their places, but they always  mind me not asking.  Ask, and you shall receive permission.]

I pulled off a side road at a gone-by field of asparagus, liking the low light and the threatening skies, and ran into the owner.  Ed not only pointed me toward a particularly photogenic part of his property, but offered me as much butternut squash as I wanted.  It was sitting in a wooden crate and not going anywhere soon enough to pay him for the trouble.  I accepted his offer with heartfelt thanks.  [That’s how asking permission works.  ;)]

His asparagus fields had taken on that golden hue which autumn brings them:

I liked that view of the barn, and this one of an impudent Jimson weed bearing its strangely spiny “fruit” amidst the asparagus:

These seed pods give it the moniker “Spiny apple,” but they’re not at all apple-like.  It’s incredibly toxic stuff, damaging livestock which eat it and people who think its vaunted hallucinogenic properties are worth that damage.

I continued north as clouds massed threateningly, heading toward Mt. Sugarloaf.  It was across the river in Deerfield, but very much dominated the scene in Sunderland:

These three are Elliot’s work; he likes the planar places.

More from Sunderland soon.