>still life in montana


The clouds, the fields, and the wind. Is anyone here beside me?
Whoever was here is gone.
Something used to fit exactly so here.
Insulators like these are no longer used.
What made the beavers stop?
Oh that’s right. Watch your step and don’t walk backwards.
I couldn’t think what this was all about.
Turns out Mom found some seeds and thought she’d plant them.
Waste not, want not.
They’ll look like this in about six weeks:
My dad is almost 80. The dogs play fetch with him every day.
I got teased for taking a photo of this.
For me, it’s a photo that speaks of waiting.

About redmitten

author of Cracking Geodes Open, Making Good Use of August, and The Peppermint Bottle. poetry editor for IthacaLit. website: https://toomuchaugust.wordpress.com

6 responses to “>still life in montana

  1. >I think that wind farms are beautiful. Ireland is full of them Maybe that beaver just got tired! Looks like a pretty big tree…

  2. >kerry- would love to hear more about ireland from you. photos don't do this wind farm justice, what with the way you sort of climb a series of barren hills and then BAM there are the windmills above and set against the horizon, so to speak. everything feels ancient for a bit. the tree the beaver gave up on is a cottonwood, which is one native to montana. in the spring it releases big puffs of cotton that blow about in the breeze for a couple weeks. in the past 20ish years they've come up with a cottonless cottonwood, which are the only cottonwoods nurseries grow now.

  3. >I tried to get a cottonwood from a nursery and they looked at me like i was crazy….that beaver got married and now lives in Butte where she gives manicures.

  4. >I like to take photographs that others might consider odd, too- like the balls your Dad throws for the dog to play fetch, the pots of dirt with planted seeds, the grain of wood, and the magic of windows and altered doorways. They are wonderful details to capture on "film."

  5. >rox- not even a cottonless cottonwood? you, my dear, belong in butte with a story like that!annie- the people in my life don't want their photos showing up (it's bad enough, they say, that they show up in one of my poems)…so i started experimenting with what photos i might take that would still "show" them. what can we learn from a photo of five old tennis balls, carefully taken care of? or an altered doorway? how much of the story needs to be told, and how much of it needs to be left open for the reader or the viewer to participate in the experience?in doing research about a year ago on amy tan, i read an interview where she discussed what she had learned about film: panoramic versus the close-up shot. both have their place in the telling of a story, but i find the odd moment, the random detail to be most savory.

  6. >I like the way you describe the importance of the odd moment and the random detail. I think that's what makes a poem or a literary story both unique and universal. I've incorporated this idea into my thoughts about writing, from books that I've read, and I've found it to be true: in the specific is where we find the universal. Maybe that's why your photographs are so appealing to me. Beyond their artistic qualities of light and color and composition, through the details, you capture moments.

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