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Sensory deprivation

In preparation for my upcoming residency with The Arctic Circle in September and October, I will post a series of photos and journal entries from previous time spent in the Arctic. I hope you enjoy this introduction and I hope you’ll join me here this fall when The Road not Taken Enough returns to the Arctic. xoxo T

Cooper Island Alaska

The fog

I’ve been walking since I got up this morning. And eating of course. The wind and rain of the other day passed finally. Yesterday was foggy and freezing. Everything was covered with a thin sheet of ice. It lifted briefly in the afternoon and got warm for a spell.

This morning when I awoke the air was absolutely dead calm and the fog as thick as it has ever been. And so, I walked, and took photos, and walked more. There is an absolute silence and stillness to the world that is unmatched by anything I’ve ever heard or felt. Even intensely cold days in the north woods have a feeling of motion. This is absolute.

There is sensory deprivation on two levels, sound- except for a few birds, my own footsteps and the almost imperceptible wash of water on the shore, but these things you must work to hear. And visual deprivation -the water, both the lagoon and the ocean, is so utterly calm that they perfectly mirror the sky and the fog, so all sense of a horizon or a division between land and water is gone.

All sense that you are seeing anything at all is gone. If my mind didn’t override my visual input and tell me about the fog I should think I was going blind. Visibility is very low across the land but to stand on the edge of the water and look into the great grey void created by the sky and water uniting in color and texture is to truly experience emptiness. And to feel as if I am on the edge of the world.

Now and then, on the lagoon side, a dark spot that is a loon or a long-tailed duck will break free of the fog and show itself giving a definitive life to the water and proving that there is more than one dimension to the space in front of me.

On the ocean side, there are icebergs looming in the water, moving imperceptibly across the surface. And often, they calve. The sound travels through the fog, across the water, that distorted fog sound. But to look out to the ocean there is no change, no motion, no acknowledgment by the water or the air that the balance between ice and water has shifted. Only silence once again.

Occasionally a red-throated loon gives its eerie, raspy, almost desperate call, though no loon is in sight. I know it is out among the icebergs, bill pointed up to the foggy sky and its head cocked to one side or the other, listening into the silence for an answer, or for any sound. Some proof that the rest of the world still exists and it isn’t only in the imagination that there was once wind and motion, sounds of water washing against the shore, or the persistent calls of numerous other birds.

I took many photos of this deprivation of sight. Some hard fast object in the foreground with the limitless depths of fog gray void behind. How does one record the lack of something to see with a camera? I’m not sure. If there is anything to see in my photos, any depth or contrast, any color, any motion, they will be stupendous indeed. If not, they will be flat, gray, ambiguous portraits of just what I sought to record, the lack of something to see.

Cooper Island Alaska

Take off

 

Join me this fall on The Road not Taken Enough when I go to Svalbard on an Arctic Circle residency  Artistry in the Arctic.

2017– the year in review

The annual holiday photo roundup – it was an Oregon-centric year.

All the best for a spectacular 2018 full of love, joy, and peace.

With gratitude for all of your support and encouragement, generosity and graciousness,

xoxo T

 

Cape Lookout

Lava Lands

Summer Lake

Hobart Bluff

Emigrant Lake

Painted Hills

Avalanche Lily

Crater Lake

Painted Hills

Acorn Woodpecker

Christmas Valley

Summer Lake

Deschutes River

I crack myself up

Last month, I registered The Road not Taken Enough as a Limited Liability Corporation with the state of Oregon. I’m not altogether sure what I will do with this designation but, as usual, I’ll make it up as I go.

The application had a series of questions that I immediately forgot after answering. I was looking through the paperwork yesterday and found this:

I mean, why be “Owner” or “President” when you can be so much more. A field tech long ago and far away gave me this title. Apparently, I see no reason to change it.

I took this photo: Trespassing? No, just Tresnapping

tresnapping

An ounce of prevention, Big Cat requests that I stay.

The trail was on the east-facing slope, in mid-afternoon, it was entirely shaded. Autumn settled in last week making the shady slope cool and damp but we were in pursuit of a sunny nap clearing.

The trail came to an extravagant but rather permeable fence, then turned and followed the fenceline. One large, mangled, weathered, and high-off-the-ground sign stated, “No trespassing. No hunting. No…”

We followed the trail until it veered away from the fence. Then we crossed the fence, climbed the hill, and found the most lovely picnic spot, complete with a stone fireplace and a picnic table. We also found a perfect, sunny, pine needle-laden opening for a nap.

Enjoying the sun and watching as dozens of turkey vultures wobbled their way south overhead, we heard an engine, grinding up the hill.

“I suppose you know you’re on private property.”

“Yes, we saw the sign.” I mean, really what else could we say? The fence should have been enough.

After a pleasant exchange about where to find an equally beautiful and sunny nap spot on public land, we bid adieu and made our way back to the trail.

It was only later that I coined a new word: tresnapping. We meant no harm, we caused no damage, we merely wanted to nap in the sun, trespassing was necessary to fulfill our goal. Tresnapping. It’s perfect. You read it here first.

I took this photo of Big Cat napping in my duffel bag. I was packing for a work trip. He was tresnapping in silent protest.

I took this photo: Ew

Decaf coffee

A haiku.

I drink coffee for the cream. Decaf is just fine. Ask anyone, I don’t need the caffeine.

I took this photo in Bozeman, Montana. Kudos to ZCH for remembering the syllables.