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People Whirling Through Space

Thursday, September 13, 2012

We're back on the midway at the Washington County Fair. I will tell you something. Carnies are harder to photograph than starlings or kingfishers. They don't miss anything. You point a lens at them and you are instantly busted. He's got me all figured out behind those wraparounds. Carnies are like accipiters. They don't miss a movement.

A crowd had gathered to watch a magician perform. The perfect setup. None of them paid any attention to me and Shila. There was something so medieval about it all, and beautiful, too.

Sinuously amazing. Where her center of gravity is, who knows.

So there's this ride, I don't know what it's called, maybe a Tilt-a-Whirl. But to me it looks like a salad spinner for humanity.

It spins and spins, faster and faster, and then goes up on end, centrifugal force keeping everyone perfectly in place.

No matter what they do with their hands.

I didn't realize until I edited these shots that I had captured a bit of human behavior that still astonishes me. 
Now. Watch the blonde lady in the denim capris and blue print blouse. Third from left.

Call coming in.

Digging for the phone.

Several revolutions later, still trying to extract it from her pocket. Can't be easy with those G's. And I'm not talkin' 4G. Gforce.

Finally gets it out.

And she spends the rest of the ride texting.

I don't know. I like my new iPhone, but if I were whirling around at 50 mph in a giant salad spinner, I might just let 'er ring on through. If there were ever a situation where you might want to pay attention to what's happening at the moment, I'd pick spinning around in a giant salad spinner 30 feet above the earth. 

This little vignette of human behavior actually scares me. Of course there is the possibility that the call coming in was really important. So I have to cut her some slack. I just think I'd be too terrified to let go long enough to answer, much less frame a reply. Ride it out.

 People were standing in line for a half hour at a time for the honor of being spun-dry.  Not me, boy. Blarrrgh. My inner ear got up and left me when I was still in my 20's.

Fascinated by relatedness--faces in duplicate.

More humans spinning through space. There's a dignity maintained, despite the crazy whirl.

Maybe not his idea of a great ride. Just tryin' to fit in. Pokey little midway. No Wild Mouse. 

Just a coupla guys spinning around in a cup. 

Dead heat for favorite image from the fair between so many, but I like this one. How is it that little boys grasp the power of centrifugal force so readily? I get the theory but still don't trust it, would be hanging on like death to those chains.

Patient ponies with precious cargo.

The proud look one astride casts upon commoners below. I remember casting that look, back in the day. Never mind the mamahand on her arm...

This hat stayed on in the Human Salad Spinner. A coup.

You're gazing out over the crowd, and suddenly there appears a phoenix before you.

People don't even know how beautiful they are. I hope you've enjoyed this walk through the midway.

 Such a humble little fair, but packed so fully with everything an artist loves--the bizarre and the beautiful. I return to it each September for that wistful yearly afternoon of bliss. I think this was my favorite ever. All the strange and wonderful collided at once.


 The clouds, threatening all day, finally organized themselves and formed a slowly spinning vortex. Shila and I looked at each other, laughed one last time, each of us independently framing the shot with the clouds lined up so they seemed to emanate from the funnel cake trailer, and packed it in. 

We did not eat funnel cakes. We were good. I had a corn dog, though, and let me tell you it was dee-lee-shus. Even though I peeled most of the corn off it. 

Sky stirrers.

The heavens opened just as we buckled our seat belts. Our camera gear, dry as a bone. It was the perfect outing.

Photo by Shila Wilson

 Bigger can be better. So can more. 
A girl can dream, right?


So precious, thank you for sharing.

Loved your afternoon at the fair!

Far too many people are apprehensive about being disconnected from the big electronic soother represented by the “i” culture. People tend to be frantic and jaded at the same time.

Being connected can be useful, and at times necessary, however, I would rather not be reachable, searchable or tethered to electronics 24/7.
Send an email; leave a message, even write a letter and I will get back to you.

I really don’t want to hear about your shopping trip or the latest gossip.

Go for a walk, a canoe ride, a bike ride, no batteries required. Digital cameras excepted.

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Dang Julie, Besides observing and blogging about turtles, birds and flowers and more - you scrutinize HUMANS and make spot on comments.

I don't think she was texting, I think she was taking a photo of the flattened kid next to her.


The Blue Hill Fair in Maine is still a nice, local fair. I love to see the cattle and draft horses, and the kids showing their sheep and calves. And the fact that half the food vendors are local people.

Posted by Barbara Manicatide September 13, 2012 at 12:17 PM

At our Clinton County Fair, that salad spinner was called the Round-up. Not for me, thanks much. My youngest daughter will venture on those rides if she has someone to ride with, preferably someone sturdier than her 5'2" self.

You sure do capture human nature... my favorite is the little girl on the pony ... but I love them all. Wildlife may be your calling, but, darn! you got the rest of down to a T. Thanks for sharing!

Loved the lines, "People don't even know how beautiful they are," and "Such a humble little fair, but packed so fully with everything an artist loves--the bizarre and the beautiful," as much as the photos to prove them. It's such fun to look at the world through someone else's eyes :)

I've been a fan of your blog for many years. Overall I have great respect for the way you critique and comment on the people, places and things in life. However, in the "People Whirling Through Space" post you snapped a picture of a "carnie." I think [and hope] that you meant nothing derogatory by the comment. But it struck me as offensive when I first read it, as if to suggest [unbeknownst to yourself] that you look down upon this person who is just trying to make a living like everyone else.

I fully expect this comment to be deleted. That's fine. It's really a personal note to you that your usage of the term "carnie" really doesn't reflect upon you well -- no matter how innocent the mention of it may have been.

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