>the case of the curious horse


Because my sister loves horses, our father sent her this photo first. I’m the daughter he sends photos of land and sky. Only after he caught himself returning to look at this photo again and again did he realize I might also like the photo. But for reasons not involving horses.
My sister focused on the horses. The middle horse is angry and the left horse next to him is merely curious. Dad focuses on how the shadows tell you about the grade of the ground. He sent me the photo after realizing I’d likely enjoy the way water curves against land.
In my photography class, our Irish instructor tells us he brakes for S curves. He will stop what he is doing — even stop his journey if he is on a doughnut run — to take a photo of any suggestion of an S curve. Such formation allows our mind to travel all the while experiencing the very edge where contrasts meet.
Field alongside water. Curiousity corralled with anger. Straight against the curves. Daughter versus daughter. Shadows on warm earth. 

Here’s a place to sit while we think about S curves and the curious horse. Photo courtesy of said dad.
Last week my daughter wanted to buy a book, which for this bookmanicmother was a moment dipped in 24K bliss. She doesn’t think she likes to read because compared to my sister and me she doesn’t read often enough to consider herself a reader. She doesn’t think she is at all like us in that regard. We walked into Borders Bookstore with an understanding how we’d just dip in, get the book she wanted, and then dip right back out.
An hour later, we were still in the psychology section. We were dipped in bliss, having discovered common ground between us. We had pulled all but two-three-four books off the shelf. I had four books I wanted to buy (had I mentioned my NoMoreBoughtenBook Vow?) and she had three in her WannaBuy Pile. We agreed to share our books at home having discovered we both enjoyed analysing why minds do what minds do.
In this way I ended up breaking a solemn vow, (a subject for a future post.) But for now I am reading a book about finding my true passion and place in life.  The Element by Sir Ken Robinson tells me much of what I already know and much of what I didn’t dare to know. Halfway through the book, I’ve bent the corners of eight pages.
Somewhere on page 86 or so is a comment about growth. We move towards a dynamic life and away from living a static life when we allow our minds to consider how contrasting things in life share common features, rather than when we consider the differences between these same things.
Such things, for example could be . . . oh, I dunno . . farmland and water, straight lines and curves, shadows and fence rails, daughter, daughter, granddaughter.

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

8 responses to “>the case of the curious horse

  1. >Beautiful photos, beautiful curves. I know of a path beside a small lake, with a bench, very like the one you show here.LOVE reading about the reading and the book buying. Yesterday, dangerously, I brought home more books from the store. Ostensibly Christmas presents…but I am already reading one first. American Eve, about Evelyn Nesbit, by Paula Uruburo, whose last name is like the snake that eats itself.

  2. >My understanding was that a very curvy river meant that it was a really old river. Winding its ancient flow through time. Much the same as these patterns of growth. I imagine our hearts and minds curving around growth in time but always to keep moving…no choice really. They say water goes where it wants to go. Perhaps growth can be looked at the same, making our own strange banks and waterfalls along the way.

  3. >Ah, I just dropped by for a dose of Sherry-calm before starting on my daunting "to do" list. Glad I did, as always. Love this way of thinking about photographs. Hmmm…. Those first two sentences would be a great start to a poem too….

  4. >Great photos and thoughts. Now I'm going to have to go out and look for S curves to photograph. Never thought about it before. Thanks.

  5. >Hi Sherry, I came across this quote recently, and I thought you might find it to be pertinent:“When I was a boy I used to think that things progressed by contrasts, that there was a law of contrasts. But this was building the world out of blocks. Afterwards I came to think of the energizing that comes from mere interplay, interaction. Thus, the various faculties of the mind co-exist and interact, and there is as much delight in this mere co-existence as man and woman find in each other’s company … Cross reflections, modifications, counter-balances, complements, giving and taking are illimitable. They make things inter-dependent and their inter-dependence sustains them and gives them pleasure.” — Wallace Stevens, 1940 Letter to Hi SimonsI especially like the line about reflections, counter-balances, and complements. I thought I was drawn to the concept of contrasts (applying it to art and photography as well as life, and the life of the mind), but after reading this quote, I realize, it is really the interplay and the counter-balances I seek. I love assymetry when the sum total is in balance, such as the curve of a road or a river in contrast to the land or to the sky. Is it really a contrast, or a connection?

  6. >kathleen- oh, books! inside every cover is something to be discovered so how can we resist? in my family we often give books as a gift and the receiver's first question to the giver is "did you read it yet?" and if the answer is no, the receiver is disappointed.kerry, i hadn't thought about ancient water but yes, that makes sense. water finds its way, which results in the curves. it runs straight until it can't anymore and then it curls, finding some bank that will give way. i enjoy considering that.rose, oh thank you for the "sherry-calm". ha! i should hang around you more often because you inspire me with your suggestions of poetic lines. thanks for that.kass, i look forward to seeing/hearing what you discover.annie, oh wow thanks for the quote. so much to consider. you know, your own words were equally thought provoking. this is great: "is it really a contrast or a connection?" muchly much.john, *sigh * they are not mine. they belong to my father who has since sent me a series of photos taken from further distances of the same setting. he wanted to make sure i could make out exactly where the canal bends. (smile).

  7. >For me there is such a sense of continuity in your father sending you his photos, the way in which you weave them into your posts. S-curves on a downhill road slow us to a reasonable pace, keeping us from plunging headlong. With the rivers, it is almost as though they have second thoughts, wish to go back from where they came, then change their minds and go on anyway. Sometimes sheer momentum gets us where we need to be.

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