For those of you who can’t make the Farewell To Bedlam Farm “Anointing The Goddess” Art Show in June, or who don’t wish to wait we are offering signed Bedlam Farm goddess photos for sale on Maria’s website, www.fullmoonfiberart.com. The photos feature some of the Bedlam Farm goddesses – dogs, donkeys, chickens, flowers, barn cats, including Mother and Rose. They are printed photos (not matted) and they cost $60 plus shipping.
Maria selected these photos and she brought her very skilled and penetrating curator’s eye. Great choices, I think. I’m proud of them. At the last art show, my photos sold out fairly quickly, and we thought it would be good to offer them to people who can’t make it or just want to get them now. The last Pig Barn Art Gallery show will be held here at the farm June 23-24. Details also on Maria’s site. The show will feature photo and photo collage, photos, notecards, quilts and streaming pieces, painting and drawings.
Simon will be available, also Lenore. Perhaps the Red Dog too, for his debut media appearance. Might as well get used to it.
I’m off to New York City for meetings with Random House. Back this evening. Be safe and be good.
I noticed while researching “Going Home” this curious thing about dogs and people. No matter how old or sick they are, their death always comes as a shock. It was to me, I suppose. Last year at this time, I had four dogs, and all of them were powerful presences in my life, in their own way.
Frieda helped bring me to Maria, and I have written a book about her that will be published next year.
Rose was my centurion and partner on the friend – I wrote three books mostly about her – and made my early life here possible. Izzy led me to one of the most intense experiences of my life – hospice work, and I wrote “Izzy & Lenore” about him. I’ve written two children’s books about Lenore – “Lenore Finds A Friend” is coming out next Fall. Each of these dogs has been very close to me, has altered my life.
As I write this, as most of you know, two of those dogs – Rose and Izzy – have gone. Neither one was especially old, or had ever been sick and I had not thought much about either of them dying, especially Izzy, who did not experience the hard work and injury that Rose did. I still expect to see them all on the path, where I photographed them so often. I still expect Rose to appear whenever I go out the back door to the barn. I still look for Izzy’s head on my knee while I write.
I find that I do not write much about Frieda and Lenore right now. Part of it is that both of them are living pretty quiet lives at the moment. But part of it is also that this is my own way of healing, the very indirect way in which I do it. I am not drawn to write much about dogs right now, or take their photos.
I spent a lot of time with Frieda, my writing dog, and the Hound of Love, Lenore. They are both the most wonderful creatures, and they have lots of life in them, and I will have lots to say about them. But I don’t seem to want to point the camera at them much right now. I just seem to not do it. One woman complained of this to me: “I miss photos of Lenore.” Sorry, I always want to say. Refund is in the mail. But that would not be gracious. Better to say nothing. You haven’t mentioned the dogs lately, Maria mentioned this afternoon. Yes, I said, this is so. She nodded. She always understands.
We walk the two dogs on the path every day, yet I rarely bring the camera along. It still seems as if there should be four dogs. I am not quite ready to accept a photo without Rose and Izzy in it. Without the Imaginary Squirrel and Izzy’s joyous herding of me along the path.
I’m with Freud on this stuff – there are no accidents. Lately, my photos have focused on light and color. That feels right at the moment. I don’t mourn much consciously, but I believe in giving them their due. No rush. This is, I suppose, my own mourning period. It is, I think, about to change. A friend of mine is going to Virginia to pick up the Red Dog and bring him here – I just can’t get away long enough to go get him right now.
I am eager to have him here, anxious to get some sheep back in his life and mine. When a new dog appears, it clarifies the roles of all of the others. Brings them all into focus. Moves dogs back to the center. They all live in relationship to one another. I don’t believe in forcing creativity, writing or photography. It comes when it comes. Dogs are a central part of my life and my work, and the more I think about it, the healthier it seems to me to take my time. Crisis and mystery are right over the horizon, as they always seem to be with me.
I’ve learned much from chickens, as you can learn something from any animal of you listen and watch. We rarely do that in our world, we are so busy telling ourselves and one another what the animals are thinking and doing.
I love the way these simple and energetic and quarrelsome creatures make the transition to the night. They make their way quietly and in single file into the barn around dusk. They cluck and peck, and then one by one, they hop up onto the roost, walk sideways until they are comfortable, squeeze against one another and enter a restful state of grooming, settling, clucking softly. I think this would be a great way for humans to settle in the for the night. I am trying it, settling into the sofa with a book, listening to my Ipod, clearing my thoughts of the day. Chickens are teaching me this, and I have wanted to do it for many years.
Tomorrow I’m off to New York City for the day – taking an early train – to meet with my editors. We have a lot to discuss. “The Story Of Rose,” my first E-book original, due out in August (not yet available.) The enhanced version of the e-book will include 100 photographs and 30 videos.
This is new for them and for me. Lots to talk about. We will also be planning a book tour for “Dancing Dogs,” my first short-story collection, out in September. Looks like the tour will include Cambridge, N.Y, Manchester and Wilmington, Vt., Philadelphia, Chicago, San Francisco and Boston and a bunch of stops in between. I’ll be starting the tour with Battenkill Books, very fitting.
I’ll be back in the evening. Putting up a chickens on the roost album on Facebook.
I looked out the window and saw this big thunderstorm rolling right up out of the meadow, chasing away the sun, darkening the world and leaving the Studio Barn shining like a sweet little beacon. All the animals vanish minutes before a storm, disappearing into barns, pole barns, burrows and nests.
There have been thunderstorms all week, and it has always intrigued me why some dogs fear thunder and some don’t. Lenore doesn’t even seem to note, she just dozes right through even the loudest storm. Frieda gets visibly rattled – Rose hated storms and shivered all through them. Frieda stays close to me, her eyes seemingly pleading for some explanation of the world behaving strangely. Dogs have such greater hearing than humans, I can only imagine what thunder seems like to them.