A Little Art Show

The local paper published a nice article about the art show I’m having at the Cumberland Public Library this month. On display are some of my photographs (some accompanied by tiny stories) that feature two special places (both town-owned open space) here in Cumberland, RI. I have written about both places, Franklin Farm and the Cumberland Monastery, during the last couple of years, but I’ve been photographing them for longer.

The exhibit is up for the entire month of September. Here’s a preview of my work:

The Cumberland Monastery

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Franklin Farm

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Much thanks to the Cumberland Public Library for hosting this exhibit.

In Which I Explore Nature, Art, Photography…

Vincent van Gogh, sunflowers, Cumberland’s beloved Franklin Farm, and more.

An excerpt from my newly published essay, Devotion (you can read the entire piece online, page 12 at The Tishman Review):

[T]he sunflowers do tell a dyed-in-the-wool tale of the vagaries of time. The cycle of life. The land and the people. Sunflowers are at once beautiful and tragic: they are vivacious and bright, a bloating bloom of sustenance, a bee’s libation, a bird’s victual, and no sooner does the bee syphon its last bit of nectar from the crowded disc of florets than the sunflower sheds its last seed, curls inward and fades. Like farmers rolling hay in the field, they fold for the season.



Image 1

At sunset, the surface of the farm is coated with fog and I am in the midst of my own inner fog—a migraine that trickled through the upper quadrant of my head at sunrise. By noon, as the sky cracked with rain, I could no longer stand the relentless pain. Stripped of capacity to read or write, I closed the bedroom shades and got under the covers. When I later emerged I heard the sound of rain hurling against the roof, mimicking the interior of my head: a deluge of prickly spasms.

But soccer practice goes on, which means my daughter, Lu, will need me to pick her up at 5:30 pm. So at 6:00 pm I am in the car with her, heading home down Abbott Run Valley Road, my head a little less prickly but wildly pounding, when I see this white miasma sweeping across the fields of Franklin Farm—a low-hanging grey haze much like my daylong stupor.

Of course, yes, I pull over, stop. But I have only my phone. I take two (blurry) pictures and Lu yells at me to get back in the car. It’s cold, she says, and she needs to get to her schoolwork. I bring her home, grab my camera and return to the farm, running across swells of green like a madwoman, hand gripping camera, arms thrashing in the air, trying to capture the now escaping haze. Literally—everything seems literal these days—it’s flying the coop! (The empty coop, that is.) I chase it. It’s beautiful, it’s rolling and twisting and the entire farm is so very quiet. Except for the pumpkin-colored leaves mashing underfoot.

The fog is one step ahead of me as I run toward it. One step. I push forward, dazed, it pushes out. I am out of breath now, barely at its edge when the entire mass dissipates in the crisp air, and I stop to watch it flee.

A moment later, my head clears. Vanishes like the fog.

I go home and make chicken soup.

(Lulu will have it for lunch tomorrow.)