This frame is from two years ago, my oldest is a lot taller now and getting lankier by the minute. As of last month, he has by far the longest hair in the family (finally took the plunge and cut all of mine off and it has not been entirely painless, such as when big sis told me now I look like someone from Radiohead). He wears a denim jacket and likes to tuck his blue jeans into his cowboy boots except for those days he has Physical Education, then he wears his smelly red sneakers. Every morning when the bus comes over the crest of the hill we hug and I say goodbye, I love you. I’ve spent a lot of time this week contemplating the fragility of life.
One of our neighbors keeps enough firewood to heat an entire village, I swear. He lives in a darling moss-covered, tiny gabled house fit for a gnome which is situated on a wooded, half block with a statuette of Michelangelo’s David, dwarfed by towering cedars. This calls to mind Grandpa reported last week he finally got enough wood to last the entire winter and then some, he gets it from the forest on the other side of the field. Fells and chops everything by himself. Hauls it back up with the four-wheeler, probably a million trips. When I was a boy he’d give me just enough time to swing the axe to make myself useful (and deadly) but mostly he split everything and I handed it to him through the basement window. He has always been a powerful man yet wields the axe so effortlessly it seems connected to supernatural guy-wires. Oliver Fern and I were walking home from piano last week, that’s when I captured this. Reminded me of home. Just Queen Anne’s lace and rusty barbed wire for the picket fence.
This bay has been an important refuge for our family the past several years, it’s one of those quiet sort of places that’s perfect for homebodies who need some kind of adventure in their lives but not too much. Any extremely satisfying success through the viewfinder here has eluded me over time, it doesn’t matter whether it has been fair weather, bad storms, low tide or high tide. The adjoining estuary has become an increasing focus of my interest and I took this a couple Saturday nights ago when we were leaving which was a good thing because the local cabin-dwellers were firing up their wood stoves altogether at once and smoky vapor drifted quite unhealthily over the beach, you can kind of see it here. Smells good, though. The boys and their mother were ambling only very slowly back to the trailhead for my benefit as I was shooting and soon I found myself accompanied by a young man with surfboard, his wetsuit was peeled like a banana awkwardly down his body and his face mostly hid under a hoodie with the exception of long, wet hair and quite a prodigious, extremely red nose and he was squeaking funny in a pair of oversized rubber boots not to mention shivering like crazy in the autumn chill. He was overcome by the serenity of this backwater just like me I guess and stopped to admire the peacefulness at dusk.
Ordinarily I might’ve found myself a little annoyed at such an intrusion except I’d been admiring him all afternoon out on the water, he was an exceedingly confident boarder and I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone out here ride with such grace for so long. The usual misanthropic side of myself felt somewhat chastened as he turned out to be a nice fellow, we chatted and I would learn he was born and raised only a few miles from here. At any rate, I thought maybe the silvery tin foil of foreground here could be interesting as a monochrome study.
Adam left Animal Farm laying about this week after he finished and Oliver Fern picked it up imagining it would be another sort of Charlotte’s Web. Was he ever disappointed.
This year I stayed at the house for Halloween to read by my quiet lonesome. The pleasant sounds of neighbors echoed across the hillside but no one really trick or treats on our street because it’s too steep. Instead, everyone heads up to the very grand, decked-out haunted houses between St. Joseph Parish and 15th Avenue East where the people with old money (along with the nouveau riche dot-commers) throw rollicking good block parties (they hand out the same bad candy as everyone else). Adam spent the evening trick or treating with a couple of friends, up there. Oliver Fern wanted me to stay home so he could have his mother all to himself, goodness gracious was I ever happy to oblige as I’m not much of a Halloween enthusiast (although I enjoy helping the boys brainstorm their costumes into being and they have me to thank for their jack o’ lantern-carving skills). When everyone got home later it was fun hearing stories about various school chums or neighbors they’d run into. Oliver even trick or treated at his first grade teacher’s house, her husband was a fine ballplayer for the Seattle Mariners, the only Major League Baseball team to never reach the World Series (though I really believe the Expos should be included in that category no matter what anyone says which is the inevitable can of worms debate-expanderizer).
This is a view from high subalpine in the Olympics, my original intention was to share this ghostly scene on Halloween night by itself and shut my overactive bear-trap for a change but then it didn’t set right somehow to be impugning the workings of Mother Nature for nothing else but a clash of air temperatures yet certain polls regularly demonstrate half of Americans believe ghosts and angels are real but I’m not getting into the finer points of the matter. Let me leave you with this, Adam came up here with me, the two of us walked many miles that day and climbed the equivalent of a thousand Empire State Buildings, not once did he let on about being in any sort of misery. Until the way down, that is. Now then we joined forces in that department. What a grand suffering it was, my oldest he really is an angel.