Seeking balance

Here, as promised, is one of the images from the upcoming Picnic show. It's called (not surprisingly) Still Life -- a rather generic name, I agree -- but since I don't tend to shoot this sort of thing I figured I was safe giving it that name; it's not all that likely that I'll do another still life.

This one actually happened by accident: I was roaming around the yard of a Vermont farmhouse one morning in June, carrying the platter, the tablecloth and the pitcher and putting them in patches of sunlight to suggest the idea of a picnic.

I had just set them to rest on this bench, beneath a willow tree, and the closeup shot just had more impact than the one of the bench and the willow.  Which makes sense, if you think about it; I do use my zoom lens a lot, and generally prefer to focus in on things.

... which is a bit of a life habit as well, I suspect; I tend to be more conscious of the details around me, the little things that are worrying or delighting me, than the big picture.  Which may be why I'm feeling at odds today.  As I wrote to a friend this morning (Note to self: do NOT tackle your email before blogging, as your emails will turn into blog posts), I’m feeling this odd mix of delighted and devastated; finding it hard to keep my balance.

I'm THRILLED with the Supreme Court decision, just thrilled. But I'm surprisingly upset about the loss of Nora Ephron. I actually get teary thinking about her. She was the companion of my youth, the wise one who understood the pain of my first husband’s infidelity and our subsequent divorce, the one who helped me to laugh and to hope with those delicious movies of hers; the one who got why I wear turtlenecks so much of the time... She was a companion on the journey, always a little ahead of me, waiting with open arms to welcome me to whatever new stage I was entering. And I will miss her.

I’m also just horrified about the fires in Colorado — not so much because I have friends there (though I do, and they seem to be safe for the time being) -- it just feels so overwhelming and out of control. Earthquakes, tsunamis, tornadoes, hurricanes — they’re all horrible and wreak awfulness, but their duration is relatively short, and then you get to figure out what to do with the damage. The fire just seems to keep getting worse...

So it's little wonder that I'd be drawn to a relatively placid image like this one today. It doesn't have the clear blue calm of my boat pictures, though there's a touch of that. There's a lot of red, like fire; just softened, into the sweet roundness of the fruit, the gentle folds of the cloth. And behind it all, that worn smoky gray you see in all the after pictures of where the fire has been. There's the promise of friendship, and health. But all in all, there's something very dark about it...


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