Tree and shrub pruning. Perimeter weed defense. Pasture clearance, barn painting. Garage painting. New bathroom. New shop doors. Catch the horses actually playing soccer, and not white-eye terrified by the ball. What remains on my project list will have to wait until next summer. A month later and my knees are still prone to spontaneous knocking and my feet are still numb and wooden from the roof project- not sure what is going on there, probably a pinched nerve somewhere. Numbness is an odd thing to get used to, but at least I’m no longer tripping over my own shoes. I can’t believe I used to do work like this all day every day.
Often it’s enough to just put things on a list. I have no intention of painting the barn, but it’s on the list. Weeding, yard work: yeah, sure. And shrubs are the children we fight over- some sort of surrogation of a forgotten biological imperative. I’m building a case for unconditional slaughter, which may be above my level of commitment, and annoyance. It that the same as indecisiveness?
Getting older but still time expands, and lately moments sort of feel like the cold frothy discharge from a clash of inexperience and experience. (Inexperience isn’t the right word at all, but imperience is too fucking cute). And photos drift noncommittally in these tailings too, I notice not so much a lack of inspiration as a lack of decisiveness. Not only in situ but after- an alarming amount of marginal distinctions are showing up as diptychs and other assemblies. I just can’t seem to get enough periphery, can’t stop chasing what’s just out of the frame, either or structure- or time-wise. At the lake bed last week I couldn’t decide which flat, gray, featureless part of a silt canyon I liked best so I shot the whole goddamned panorama- eight 5×7 negatives long, with a 150mm lens at that. But that is also a list of sorts, I suppose.
A needed detour coming home from work.
This tree farm off of Camp Hayden Rd has always interested me- a very oddly-managed area, mostly cleared except for this silver fir, carefully picked around like gristle on a chicken wing. Every old growth cedar stump has been charred, which now looking at the day’s photos dredges up hackneyed associations with other commercial genocides by fledgeling empires. At least they used buffalo skulls for fertilizer. Even the roadsign seems an afterthought, too small for pride and too tall for shame as they lag on 4×4 risers to extend the height of the sign over the thimble berry and roadside saplings.
Of course these appraisals are stupid and lazy, and were the furthest thing from my mind as I spent the late afternoon meandering through the Salt Creek basin, up and down sandy slide-plagued bluffs, narrow speed trails, and the road now overgrown with clover and thistle, some stretches so carefully matted with arrangements of twigs and branches it’s like Andy Goldsworthy’s sketch pad.
The overwhelming sensation on outings like this is the satisfaction in not missing any of it, no matter how small. It is nourishing, and it all adds up. This growing connection with the local fleshes out daydreams and idle glances, and gives a nice bottom-heavy heft to optimism and even the most casual indulgences. Lately I’ve been carrying my camera gear everywhere. Work, trips to the dump or hardware store, impromptu afternoon walks with the dogs. I even took it up on the roof after I stripped off the shingles, thinking the height might add some post-modern formality to the local view. But with all this saturation coverage, there is the risk of obligation over creativity. Bluntly, like I’m some demented marsupial with an entirely delusional devotion to it’s pouch of inanimate wooden gear. Some sort of trustee whose identity isn’t nearly as important as the entrusted inventory. Whose observances are wholly dependent on their own misappraisal. Amused, I have to wonder- if a tree fell in the forest and crushed me, would it make a sound?