I’ve been in Moosup, which has been pretty light duty, really. Nick can do stairs and take care of many things himself, and my mom has been scheduling the pills and nurses, so my part has been to keep Mom and Nick company and to buy groceries with an emphasis on salt-free items as well as fruits and vegetables. Today, for the first time, Nick will be up for an expedition and so we’ll go for a drive.
Yesterday, I went 15 miles from Moosup to Buttonwood Farms in Griswold, CT, to take pictures in a field of sunflowers. Like the hatchery, I expected to have it to myself. So I was quite surprised to see a whole thing happening. Scores of cars lining the roads, a hundred people, long lines to buy ice-cream, a farmer pulling a train of little carts, painted to look like black and white cows, completely filled with children, another ride for grown-ups where the farmer stopped at intervals to expound I assume, on interesting facts about sunflowers.
I thought, “Where did you people come from? I’ve never seen you outdoors for any reason. Why aren’t you home playing video games?” But there were so many people. There were many professional photographers, or at least people with very expensive cameras. There were also people from China. You don’t see that every day in Griswold.
It was a beautiful evening. Great cumulus clouds had been building all day, so much that I was sure there would be a storm, but the clouds began to dissipate as the air cooled toward the evening, and the light was unexpectedly breaking through.
I took my pictures and then sat on a hill, facing the sun and waiting. This was new… so much of my time in nature is spent alone, or rather, with Wilson and Molly. But here I was with many people, all of them strangers, and we were all there and instinctively happy together, to see the big sky and the clouds and the setting sun and the light splayed across the fields, dimming and deepening.
I drove back to my families’ house along dark winding roads and saw a line of little animals. I thought they were ducks, but as I drew closer, I saw that they were baby skunks. They were completely destabilized by my arrival. Two went across the road. Two more started to follow, but changed their minds and scurried in the opposite direction, then they changed their minds, then changed them again. Then they walked along the side of the road for about 10 feet. Then they went back into the road again. Then one changed his mind and in turning, bumped into the other and then they circled around in a panic, and then they finally made it. Phew.
I stopped for groceries and decided to buy a six-pack of beer. The clerk carded me. I said, “Really?” She gave me that look that only a sixteen-year old can give. I said, “Thank you very much. I haven’t been carded in thirty years.” I thought, “I’m old enough to be your mother. I’m probably old enough to be your mother’s mother.” But I gave her my driver’s license and somehow she determined, my apparent perpetual youth notwithstanding, that I was over 21.
Quite an interesting day…and one more thing. When all schedules and plans have been disrupted by sudden illness, when I’m busy taking care, it’s good to have my photography. It's something to return to, something that’s mine. It helps to bring me back to the will for what I do for anyone, and to the nourishment for my life.