It is a cool, rainy, and windy Sunday this particular April 22. Much needed rain was announced by a series of lightening and thunder storms late last night. Before I began writing this Journal, I lit what I believe to be one of the last wood fires of the season and took a few moments to contemplate with the candles and crystals that are as much a part of my inner world as the creation of these words and my art.
As I gaze out of my studio window, I see that all the trees are now leafed out. Yet, I remember an uncommonly warm day in mid-March when the sun blazed through bare tree limbs, illuminating a raw, stark landscape, while creating dazzling reflections in our Catskill mountain streams. In this rare combination of extreme warmth, sans the ‘new green’ of spring, and the uncompromising glare of the sun, everyday places and things one might not see were in bold relief.
When Paul McCartney wrote the first line, the long and winding road, of his ballad, it is said that he was thinking of a road that led to the peace and calm of his farm in Scotland. There is a long, winding road not far from my home called Cauterskill Road. The road twists and turns, revealing vast farmlands, old iron bridges, ancient outcroppings in thick woodland, cultivated horse farms, and our ever-flowing Catskill Mountain streams.
I left my desk that mid-March day in a fit of irritability over something I no longer remember. I drove to Cauterskill Road feeling I belonged to it and it was mine — for a short while. I meandered for a bit before I crossed one of the first old iron bridges that the road hosts. I pulled off to the shoulder and took in the bright rays of sun and warmth as peace finally settled my restless spirit. I looked at the bridge I had just crossed, one I had seen countless times before. However, given my vantage point, it appeared as something grand leading to a dark, mysterious void.
I walked to the center of the bridge and found a reflection in the clear, pristine water, presenting an image I have taken for granted because I have seen it countless times. However, on this day, there was another aspect to photographing something I thought was ‘typical’: how fortunate we are to live in this place where waters are still pure and trout can play hide and seek among the smooth as well as craggy rocks.
I got into my car and drove on around a sharp curve and found what I believe to be one of the signatures of Americana: the Red Barn.
I reached an open expanse of farmland and a perfect split rail fence that seemed to go on and on. I could have been in the Old West …
I was thinking that I had the best job in the world: being a witness to whatever presents itself in the moment and then sharing the moments, the experiences with others. When I finally passed the split rail fence, I found myself confounded by a tree that appeared to be in a dance frenzy! If there had been leaves and swaying branches I could have grasped this apparition better. But this was merely a bare tree on the road side. Does she not have form, grace, and a hint of abandonment in her dance? Oh my, I was enthralled photographing her as if I was doing a fashion shoot with a super model.
Wending my way home, I stopped to take this image because I had seen it earlier but rejected the concept. Haven’t we all seen this classic scene in our Catskill Mountains? But, the prospect of the image haunted me and I was grateful that the light tuned out to be just perfect.
This was my drive along my long and winding road, which brought me to my door. Waiting for me were my beloved Simon and Ella. Whatever it was that caused my annoyance and bad mood hours before, was no longer retained even in the deep recesses of my mind. I walked in the door and used my camera two more times.
Thank you for joining me on my long and winding road journey on a warm, sunny mid-March afternoon.
And now I am back to April 22nd, having completed this journal entry and will next be writing to you from Provincetown in mid-May! Be well with many blessings coming your way …