Close to Home
“There is nothing ordinary” I said in the author’s note to the book. And yet, I realize I’ve let our close-at-hand human habitat become just that: nothing but the background canvas on which the more immediate and seemingly-relevant events (most of them indoors and by way of a computer monitor) take place.
One of my New Year’s goals is to reverse this relative numbness and indifference to those fragments of ordinary life here that, four years ago, became new to me because they were new to you, the readers of this blog. Of course, that readership has been replaced by fresh batches of visitors several times over, and so I hope to recover a sense of newness in this new year, see the familiar through new eyes as if waking from a long sleep. And I’ll take the risk of showing or telling you something I’ve shown or told before.
Here’s an example: in all my archives of images, until yesterday, I had never taken one from just off the back porch facing the pasture, the barn and the valley of Nameless Creek. I guess I just thought since it was not ten feet from the house, it wasn’t image-worthy. It is the view we see when we put the dog’s bowl out on the back porch in the mornings.
And yet, it is the still-life tableau before us far more often than quick glimpses of the back reaches of the creek in the gorge at the far end of our property. This is a look out our window, so to speak–the beauty we can touch with our eyes. This is the light that comes to us in early January facing south as the sun rises over a frosty field while we are still in our slippers.
There is the barn–again, and I will stop apologizing for showing you yet another image of it. And the little bridge over the branch flows under the bridge, still babbling with the rains of New Year’s Day. You can see the mailbox–the one near the right margin of the cover of the book, and the maple tree, also on the book cover and seen again up closer, backlit on the blog a few days back. The road and creek pass just front and back of the tree.
And look: the tiny HeresHome sign that faces the road. I remember what a wonderful day it was in November, 1999, to plant that aluminum “flag” and claim this place for our family. And–I didn’t know it then–to share our ordinary with readers and viewers all over the world.