Wednesday, September 17, 2008

LATE AFTERNOON


The house next door to me is not a full-time residence. The elderly couple who own it live a few hours away, and don’t get here very often, usually once or twice a year for a few days to check on things. In between visits, I keep an eye out for them. Then when they do come up, we have a good yak about the old days, people who used to live along the road, and the various families who used to own my place. The husband likes to work in the yard, and always spends some time trimming bushes or raking up the inevitable clutter of small branches, twigs and leaves that the winds off the lake are always bringing down. The afternoon I took this shot, he had been raking, then set up his lawn chair to sit and look at the lake. I wanted a shot of him sitting there, in his coveralls and
old-fashioned wide-brimmed straw hat, but I wasn’t sure how to go about it. If I asked permission first, it probably would have spoiled the shot, and he might even have said he’d rather not. And if I’d gone ahead and taken the photo, and then asked if he minded if I posted it here, well, that might have made him uncomfortable, too. I know I would feel strange to find out that someone was taking pictures of me in my yard without my knowing it. So, in the end I have this photo of just the chair and the rake. Even though my neighbor isn’t there, I think it tells almost the same story.

I think this is a good poem to go with the photo. I wrote it back in the late ’70s, in Calgary. It was a very slow afternoon at work; I was caught up with everything on my desk and was staring out the second story window into the backyards of some of the nearby houses. It was late fall, and there was a very elderly woman out raking leaves with a garden rake. I started to wonder about her, about her life, and what she might be thinking.






To my readers: I'm having my computer serviced tomorrow, and so may not be able to contribute to Skywatch this week, but hope to be back at the keyboard soon.

Photo and poem (click to enlarge) by D. Godin

13 comments:

Sylvia K said...

A lovely photo and poem, a soft and quiet feel for the day. Hope all goes well with your computer -- how did we ever get along without them???

Ron said...

Well done! I love it. Captures the moment beautifully. Looks like a nice place to hang out.
And thanks for stopping by. Not familiar with "Akashic Record" but will look it up.

bobbie said...

I do love this poem.It hits home for me. I think of you as quite young - as most people are compared to me. But now I am searching my mind. Did you ever mention age or retirement? I will have to go back and check. But I doubt it will change the fact, either way, that I continue to think of you as being young.

SandyCarlson said...

That is marvelous. The web chair makes me think of an elderly person. The photo speaks, and the poems speaks for the chair owner's untold story. Lovely, both. Thanks.

fourwindshaiga said...

Great work for a slow afternoon. I love tales of real life like this.

I have the same problem photographing people. In fact, I rarely do it.

maryt/theteach said...

very nice, deborah!

magiceye said...

very thoughtful....

YourFireAnt said...

This makes me yearn, Deborah. And the poem.... it's right there in it.

Thanks.

FA

Bob Dylan said...

Nice poem and shot. I would take the photo and put it aside for a year or so. That kind of shot might be one his family would want one day. You just never know.

me ann my camera said...

Your poem, especially the lines of the tines of the rake uprooting dry grass speaks to me of a dry summer, filled with heat, soft summer days and memories, while the dust of the dry soil fills my nostrils.

Poetikat said...

That chair just takes me back. I can feel it pinch the backs of my bare legs even as I sit on the padded seat of my dining room suite.

I think the picture is just right as it is. It's rather an Everyman photo, is it not?

I love the poem.

Kat

Raven said...

Beautiful poem and story. I have the same thing about taking pictures with people in them. Glad your computer is back up and running.

Quiet Paths said...

I loved the story about the couple next door. The photo speaks volumes even without the explanation. The poem feels more personal to me than anything I've read in a while, mostly because of what my Mom is going thru', I believe. It's sad and hopeful both which is hard to write. Thanks for it all.