When George and Donna visit, George goes to work watching the light and setting up his tripod and cameras – he always has two or three – and Donna finds a quiet corner to sit and sketch. I love this portrait of her, I think it captured her reflective and creative soul.
George Forss and Donna Wynbrandt came by the farm today – creativity and passion together. It is always a gift to photograph George and Donna, their great love and creativity inspiring in itself. George is the only authentic genius I ever get to photograph – he is a reknowned urban landscape photographer, one of the most acclaimed in the world and when he comes to visit, all the creative genies are out in force. Donna sketches, George photographs, and I photograph George. I always learn something every time I watch George work. His joy and passion for photography are infectious, he is a wonderful friend to have and I value him so much.
I took a bunch of photos of the visit – beautiful light, blowy wind. Red helped hold the sheep for George and took him under his wing, as Red is wont to do. I am putting up a photo album on Facebook.
I love our new path. Maria and I often walk the dogs together, sometimes I walk them alone. There was a great wind on the path today, Red running up ahead, I was touched by the shadows of the trees, blowing back and forth. There is always a path if I look for one.
Strut is a dutiful and conscientious rooster, I like to think of him as an evolving male, as he is gentle for a rooster. He guards his hens, steering them away danger or the road (away from Frieda), he led a glorious walk this beautiful morning into the pasture for the first time where the delighted chickens came across mountains of leaves, donkey and horse droppings, heretofore undiscovered bugs. Strut is the last one in the roost and the first one out. He has an air of purpose about him, he is determined, I think, to be a rooster.
When Simon was suffering and near death, I would come out to his pasture – we kept him apart, he was too weak to stand and every morning or every evening, whenever I came out, he would be lying down and I always thought he was waiting for me, although I can’t know that for sure. It made sense. I brought him fresh hay, grain, vitamins, salve for his wounds, rubbed ointment on his black root, pain killer for his infected gums, butte for his twisted legs and drops for his pus-filled eyes. He was covered in ticks, riddled with worms, infections, wounds. His kidneys were swollen and he could not eliminate for days. I would lie down next to him, bring him the hay and feed it to him, read stories about men and donkeys to him. He liked those stories, and I loved telling them. They were as much for me as for him.
His brown eyes, runny, always glowed and his ears followed my words, twisting and turning as I read from “Platero And Me,” and “Don Quixote.”
This morning, when I came out with Red to move the sheep, Simon was waiting for me again, or so it seemed. He didn’t move as I approached and so I brought out some carrots and I sat down next to him and we talked a bit and his ears twirled back and forth – odd, because he is always with Lulu and Fanny, and they were off in the pasture. Red came and sat near us, but he and Simon do not have the connection Red and Rocky did, Simon does not like or trust dogs – I imagine he has his reasons – and Red gives him a wide berth.
I told Simon a story. There was a donkey and a man, I said. The donkey and the man were both thirsty. The donkey wanted water – he was tired after some hard work. The man was thirsty for something else, for a good life, for life. My task is easier said the donkey. I can go to the stream and drink. How will you quench your thirst?
What shall I do?, said the man in the story. I will listen to the mice in the walls and the squirrels in the eaves, and watch the chickens kick the leaves for bugs and worms, and see the cat hug the pillow and worship the sun. Beautiful is the cold frosting the windows in the morning and the wind scouring the pasture at night. I will ask my angels to come and find me, and they will sing to me if I close my eyes and open my heart. And when I speak to the coyote in the night and love the donkeys in the field and listen to the mournful cries of the geese and learn to love the people in the world. Lord, I am really speaking to you whenever I say, as I do every day, many times a day, to you and to life. Come in, come in, come in.
And this, I told Simon, is how the man will quench his thirst. Simon’s ears went up, his big brown eyes clear and wide, rapt.