Thursday, September 15, 2011

September 14

I get to the farm in the late morning.  Map gear and recent specimens along with a selection of tools necessary to box those relics are in the car.

So often, we find ourselves thinking of things that seem to have nothing to do with what we are doing.  A photograph of my wife comes to mind and I find myself on a new path.  I have had the photo since the time when we were dating, now over half a lifetime ago.  It is a photograph taken, no doubt, by some guy who had a crush on her.  I remember hearing some story about that.  She is no more than 18-years old, her hair done in long braids - a length that I have never seen, and she is crouched, studying something, but momentarily disturbed by the photographer just long enough to look partially in that direction.  It is an extremely fine portrait.  The photo became mine when I rescued it from the trash, my wife announcing that she didn't like it.  I took it and put it in what I thought was a safe spot not knowing at that time that we would still be together over 30 years later.  No one who knew us would have bet on that.

As time went by, the photograph became water damaged, and one day I tore it opening the safe place where I kept it.  For a while I forgot where it was although I would occasionally wonder about its location.  Over thirty years, I suppose I lost and found it several times.  Then one day, while setting up my studio (pronounced "shop") I found it again and tacked it to the wall.  To me, that photograph always reminds me of the first time I saw my wife - at a bus stop in Minneapolis.  It would be at least a year before I would have a chance to talk to her, so I have no picture of the first sight, but the photo seems to do.

Now, the photograph seems to be so much more.  It is analogous to our relationship.  The tear and the water damage have turned a good portrait into something so much more.  The photograph now bears character and story that the original image had no chance of capturing.  It breathes the experiences of life.  It is a far more beautiful image than the photographer ever knew.

And then, I go back to my work, building little boxes and putting little things inside them.  And, M shows up, a welcome break, and gives me my first lesson in chicken tending.

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