Bedlam Farm Blog Journal by Jon Katz

26 January

Our Home, In The Storm

by Jon Katz

We put up colored lights around Christmas and leave them up until Spring and the days are longer. Our road is dark at night and it is nice to have these bright colors shining through the darkness and the cold.

They speak of hope to me. I looked at that light and thought, “this is hour house, our home.”

Standing by the road, I saw headlights coming up the highway. Country people grow up with snow, and it doesn’t faze them. I see all kinds of cars with no snow tires or four-wheel drive, and when I lived around New York City, I saw all these SUV with expensive snow tires and 4-wheel drive.

I see these cars coming from miles, they kick up the snow and barrel along confidently. Once in a while, they slide off the road, into ditches, or run into poles.

They often make for beautiful and evocative photos.


26 January

The Storm: Could It Be That The Angels Had Come Down To Sing To Me?

by Jon Katz

The storm came on slowly. First, the first snow was fine, and the sun was still shining through some of the clouds. I love photographing this apple tree, and I meant to catch it in the snow.

But suddenly there was no snow, and it seemed that the sun burst through a hole in the sky and when I took this photo, I knew I had gone to the aperture setting and changed the exposure, but I didn’t see this light until I looked at the picture on my computer.

I wish I knew what I did, but I don’t; photography is like that, and I remember standing in front of the tree – I was low this afternoon, and I thought about the many long nights I find myself brooding about the anger and conflict in the world and my own failings and mistakes.

I sometimes wonder if human beings will find a way to destroy it with greed and cruelty.

But out there in the cold, and very soon, there was the snow I could see coming, I felt that the center of me lies far beyond the human need to hurt others or ourselves, and my heart lifted, and I felt the warmth of the light.

At these times, I rise about the frailties and imperfections of humans. Life is so much more than that. I believe in the light; it comes when I let it.

There is a place within where we are free from fear and free to forgive and love and hope. That’s what I felt looking at the tree, and somehow, that’s what the camera saw.

Could it be that the angels had come down to sing to me?

26 January

Into The Whirlwind: Frostbite Spirits

by Jon Katz

It is bitter cold, and at dusk, the landscape was eerie, the snow was heavy, and as is our custom, we went out to visit the animals and check on them. They came rushing out to see if we had hay, and they retreated into the pole barn, which was dry and sheltered from the wind.

It wouldn’t wish to be an animal on nights like this, but then, that’s my issue, not theirs. When I go out in this cold and snow, I have to take at least one glove off to picture.

The first year I moved upstate, the fingers on my right hand and two on my life suffered from frostbite. It was a -30 degree night, and those are rare now.

I got help quickly enough that I didn’t lose any fingers or fingertips, but they do get white in the cold, and the pain is sometimes breathtaking.

I got my pictures and came inside – I was outside too long with gloves – and there is really nothing to do but stick the hands in my pocket (or Maria’s) and wait for them to warm up.

After 10 or 12 minutes, the pain starts to go away, but it is draining. It makes me think.

This is one of those tradeoffs. I live in upstate New York in the winter and love to take photos in the snow.

So there will be some discomfort when I take my gloves off. It’s a fair deal, I’ve tried different kinds of gloves that will keep my hand warm and let me use the camera, but they don’t work, aren’t warm, or get in the way.

I’ve learned when to get inside, and I even have a wax melt to use if I think of it, which I didn’t today.

26 January

Storm, Part One, Tuesday Evening

by Jon Katz

Part one of the winter storm hit late this afternoon and into the early evening. Part Two is supposed to come overnight. Part one is pretty impressive.

We did some shoveling, checked on the animals, gave them high octane second cut hay for energy. I brushed off the cars, Maria shoveled a path which was quickly obliterated. Lots of ice beneath the snow.

I went to Saratoga and said goodbye to cardiac rehab, giving Maria and two other nurses some gifts. I was a bit sad to say goodbye, rehab is an emotional experience in many ways, and Maria reminded me that I was so much stronger and more active now than I was after the surgery.

We’re in for the night now, blogging, putting up photos, doing some reading. The house is snug and warm, the cats are safe in the basement, Zinnia loves to try to bite the end of shovels as we shovel.

She is very happy in snow and cold. If we were near the pond, she would have jumped in. More photos to come.


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