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Shooting Blind

Thursday, April 2, 2015

I never know where these posts are going to go when I sit down to bang one out. Reminds me of the E. L. Doctorow quote:

"Writing is like driving at night in the fog. You can only see as far as the headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way." 

I'm still on Dean's Fork, enjoying a springy day in the 70's for once. Reveling in it. I moved over to the black barn near road's end. Now that the huge chestnut boards of the gristmill have all collapsed, the standing barn has become my object of contemplation and desire on the Whole Dean's Fork run.

 It's a worthy object. In August it is drowning in tall ironweed and it looks like this.

The fields around are filled with towering violet-topped tree-plants. That's Shila, takin' it in during the Ironweed Festival.

The black barn, adorned in summer's finest.

The gristmill as viewed from the black barn. 

You would never believe that it all strips down to this in winter without even being mowed.
Those straight tall stalks are the bones of the ironweed. Without love, which for a plant is sun, water and warmth, a magnificent being like that can melt away to damn near nothing. 

But under the warming ground, their roots are waking up. Ironweed is the toughest, most tenacious plant I know. In four months, it will reign supreme, and the meadow will look like this again.

The barn is dehiscing bits of its beautiful slate roof, more with every ferocious windstorm that buffets it. I seem to pick such windy days to visit. And a piece of its slate had flaked off.

It looks substantial, but turn it on its side and it's paper-thin. This is native slate, the same found in the streambed in my last post.

Smiling to see the dirt on my FitBit band and under my nails, from digging the Naked Lady bulbs just up the trail. Must be spring.

Draft horse shoe, found on a previous visit. Huge. Very heavy. Couldn't carry it home. You can see the barn and the collapsed mill in this shot! I'm on downstream from them.

I turned to the irresistible textures of the black barn and began to fall into them.
I shoot this hinge every time I visit.

Random bird poo. Phoebe, I'd bet. One was chipping and singing around as I shot these. Ahh.

Squirrels run along the sides, looking for a way in. Their claws leave permanent marks.

Maybe they're flying squirrels! I bet they are. Something in the flowing horizontal signature of their claw scratchings says flying squirrel to me. Not to mention how close together they are. Yep. I'd love to think that there are jewel-eyed baby kitesquirrels balled up in a soft nest somewhere in this barn right now.

The barn isn't telling.

I wish I could see inside. My iPhone can.

I stick my phone through a wider crack and let it tell me what's inside. I can't even get my hand through, but the phone slots in nicely and I can just reach the button to trip the shutter. 

 Not bad for shooting blind. Shooting blind, writing works.


It's all about the textures, the tactility of it all, the visuality of the textures. Especially drawn to the photo of the interior of the barn with the sunlight seeping through the image of the closed barn doors. And slate! What a wonderful rock! is there anything more tactilely pleasing than writing with chalk on real slate? If there is, I can't think of it now. The rhythmic grain of the old wood, grayed with weather and time. And the corrupted iron of the old horseshoe, maybe laying very near where its wearer threw it, a modern dinosaur track in a streambed. Drink it all in, soak it all up, share it and dream on it.

Posted by Gail Spratley April 2, 2015 at 5:07 PM

Stephen King, in his book, On Writing, says that he never has any idea where his books are going, beyond that initial idea. The characters take on a life of their own and drag him along for the ride. I think that this is a great way to approach writing. In a sense, you are The Creator of a universe. What he has done is given his creations Free Will. That is so much more interesting than having some sort of plot outline that you must adhere to at all costs. After all, we seldom have any idea of what's in store for us in "real life". Why should writing be held to a different standard?

Posted by Anonymous April 3, 2015 at 3:59 AM

Naked Ladies, Bare Naked Ladies become Resurrection Lilies if you live next to the preacher....

Happy Easter!

Posted by Anonymous April 3, 2015 at 8:23 AM
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