At the event we held on Saturday, March 14, to celebrate my 70th birthday, a friend and fellow artist gave me a copy of this poem by Lynn Ungar, printed on paper she had made from Abaca Fiber. The poem seems appropriate for this season.
We too are now limiting our social contacts, but that won’t stop us from reaching out on social media. Stay safe and stay in touch.
There’s something poetic about walking into a strange house and finding the remains of breakfast still on the kitchen table. It’s November 14, and we were scheduled to photograph a recently remodeled kitchen. There were three of us, a representative from the architectural firm that had hired us, my assistant, and myself. The residents were off at work or school. We were left with instructions to let ourselves in; the key would be under the mat. As it turns out, the key wasn’t under the mat. But in the midst of poking around we discovered that the back door was unlocked.
My first impression was that the home owners must have forgotten about our arrangements to photograph the place. Why else would one leave things in a total state of disarray. Once we confirmed that the homeowners anticipated our intrusion we got to work. But not before I photographed this cereal bowl with my iPhone. It feels like it’s an invasion of privacy to capture this photo. An intimate snapshot of how people really live. And I find myself creating all sorts of stories about what happened at the breakfast table that morning.
My work is loving the world.
Here the sunflowers, there the hummingbird — equal seekers of sweetness.
Here the quickening yeast; there the blue plums.
Here the clam deep in the speckled sand.
Are my boots old? Is my coat torn?
Am I no longer young, and still not half-perfect?
Let me keep my mind on what matters, which is my work, which is mostly standing still and learning to be astonished.
The phoebe, the delphinium. The sheep in the pasture, and the pasture.
Which is mostly rejoicing, since all ingredients are here, which is gratitude, to be given a mind and a heart and these body-clothes, a mouth with which to give shouts of joy to the moth and the wren, to the sleepy dug-up clam, telling them all, over and over, how it is that we live forever.