Happy New Year!

Well, I obviously did not complete the December reflection project, in part because I broke my ankle a few days before graduation. It’s a nasty fracture (bimalleolar, for those who are interested in learning a new word), and I had to have three pins inserted surgically into the inside of my ankle three days before Christmas. When I should have been in Cuba, I was instead lying in bed recovering, and I’m just now starting to be more mobile (cautiously) again. The good news about having surgery is that it should actually speed up the healing process.

The down-time has provided me with the opportunity to work on some projects that had been sitting on the back burner. One thing I’m doing is to organize and edit digital photos, as well as scan some old ones. I came across the pictures that I took at my extended family’s shared farm in Mississippi when my sister and I went there for Thanksgiving back in November. We were wanting to do something different since this was the first Thanksgiving without Mom, and among other things, we scattered most of her ashes there at the farm (some had already been scattered in Palo Duro Canyon and up in the foothills of the Colorado Rockies).

It had been years since I’d last visited the farm, and I’m not sure if I ever really grasped the vastness and diversity of it. We spent a couple of weeks there every summer during childhood, visiting my great-grandparents who lived there. Because it was so hot at that time of the year, we didn’t venture out very often, other than right there where crops grew behind the house. We would occasionally go to one of the two lakes on the property or walk around, but because I was young, it was hard to put together a full picture of the farm as a whole. Thanksgiving blessed us with very nice weather, so my sister and I explored the entire farm.

I love our farm and am really proud to be part of the tradition of preserving small-scale agriculture, which at one point was one of the hallmarks of American society. It’s a shame that corporate farms have reduced the number of family farms and altered the way we connect with our food sources, but I have hope that we can collectively come up with new ways to promote the legacy of sustainable (and ideally organic) farming. I’ll talk about that at another time. Right now, I’d like to share some photos of the farm.

These are not your ordinary depictions of a farm landscape. I did take plenty of *that* type of picture as well, but I also felt inspired to experiment with something a little different. A lot of men (and some women) will probably find this collection to be silly and frivolous, but that’s not my intent. I was carrying Mom’s ashes in a large handbag that day, and while I was on the back of the property, I was struck by the way that the sunlight reflected on the metallic fabric. The purse looked so gorgeous, and in noticing the combination of vivid colors, I thought it would be fun to play with the contrast between nature and fashion. So I placed the bag in various locations around the farm, marveling at how it sparkled on that clear day. It’s kind of a whimsical exploration of how things that seem like they don’t belong together can become a composition, while also referencing the still life painting tradition in which everyday objects are transformed into artistic subjects.

In case you are wondering about the stunningly gorgeous purse, it was designed and made by the incredibly talented September Scott (check out her Facebook fan page here), a hometown friend I’ve known since childhood. September is an eco-conscious recycler of threads, turning bold patterns from old evening gowns, draperies, and upholstery into fashionable works of art. I was immediately drawn to the glamorous Asian-inspired design of this particular bag, and I can’t help but laugh at its appearance in the unlikeliest of places, a small family farm in the Deep South.

[Note: You can click on an image to view the full-size version of it.]

[Also: I should qualify that the ashes were scattered before I took these pictures. Just in case any of your thoughts are inclined toward the macabre…]

purse on the range

Purse on the range

purse on a bale of hay

Who knows how long that bale of hay has been there...

o christmas tree

O Christmas Tree

shadow play

Shadow play

purse and dog

Outtake: A squinty-eyed doggie wants down