Small Garden, Big Thoughts

Taking out the garbage on this beautiful Fall morning.  The year is winding down.  Sap is flowing downward instead of upward.  Leaves are changing color. Our little garden is fading.  This little garden is actually an assortment of terra cotta pots sitting in the soil.  Lots of gophers and voles and the like to eat roots, so to be safe we planted out garden in the pots.

We have received an extraordinary amount of pleasure from this garden.  The rosemary was used to cook fish, put in our homemade bread.  Sage was used in many dishes, with fish again being the primary one.  We like to take fresh-picked tomatoes and slice them and place basil on them with a little salt and balsamic vinegar.

Our Little Garden Fall 09

Our Little Garden

We are losing most of the plants in the garden to the change of season, but the fresh, tasty, memories will carry us through the winter of long, gray, wet days we know are coming.  This thought caused me to ask myself just what memories I have collected out of the summer of my life.  At 66 I think that I have many more years to go, but who can be sure of anything?  And, if my garden-memories are treasures I will hold over the winter…?

My memories seem to be collected in two categories: 1) life surrounded by music and certain songs; and 2) life held within photographs and the making of images.

1) My first remembrances of music was the old songs my mother sang to me as she rocked me–“Oklahoma Hills,” “My Merry Oldsmobile” “Moonlight Bay”

Next is the Rockabilly and Rock ‘N’ Roll of my teenage years–the girls, the hot cars, and the wild, attendant stories those songs bring back..

Then there are the psychedelic ‘60s & ‘70s.  The doors come to mind, and a drive to San Francisco from Sacramento one hot, summer afternoon, windows down in the freeway traffic–AND EVERY CAR WE PASSED, AND EVERY CAR THAT PASSED US HAD “LIGHT MY FIRE” BLARING.  We knew we were part of something truly huge.

2) As I look at the body of images I have produced over the years, individual images bring back smells, sounds, a touch of breeze on my skin, the wonder I felt, the people I saw.

Photography for me, has for over fifty years been a ritual ground where I made meaning.  It was in making images that I re-discovered God.  It was making images where I learned how to be the creative individual I have become.

I learned courage, deep in the wilderness, alone, making images for a grant I had received.  I learned about failure, and success, I learned to see.

When I say “see,” there is a special weight and meaning to the word.  For me seeing means to connect visually in such a way that my very soul is connected to the whole of the universe, by way of the small portion I am seeing.

WOW, such a small garden, to jog lose so many thoughts!


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