Tuesday, November 21, 2006

extravigant minutiae

My ability to get out and about with the camera has been interrupted lately - the digital is my husband's and it's his passion, so it stays with him most of the time. Plus, I'm not all that comfortable with all the settings. I want my old Nikon FM and the ability to go in the darkroom and make my own prints, red light darkness and the tangy smell of chemicals, the swish of the developer in the stainless steel can, the burble of fix as the prints are flipped, bare-fingered.

But then they'd have to be scanned and all that. So.

For today I'm the camera.

Some recent snapshots via my own eyes:

On Sunday my daughter rode in her first big horse show. First time out jumping, period. The stadium course was the most complex one she's ever done - ten solid jumps laden with flowers, no straight lines, complicated pattern, maximum height and width for her class. She was visibly nervous, face tight and lips set, but when I asked if she wanted to ride it, she said YES. Adamantly. Her pony was flustered by the applause after each round, shying sideways, prancing, and by the time they entered the arena, he was a bit wound up. She got off course midway and at the next jump he refused, quite suddenly, and she fell. Big covered arena, surrounded by riders and trainers and family members and spectators and a judge... a course she was suddenly in the midst of and confused by. A pony who clearly wanted to be Done With This. She stood up, got her pony's reins, brushed herself off, and remounted. Tried again. Two more times he refused, but she stayed on, circled him around, and the fourth time he jumped it perfectly. Her tenacity was astounding. This snapshot files with one I remember from her second year: our family in the mountains, hiking to Linville Falls. The two year old who absolutely refused to be carried, but hiked the whole way there and back on her two little feet. People stopped and commented on her tough persistence.

Yesterday: a neighbor's horses got loose while she was at work. They came straight to our fence line, seeking the company of other horses. Keil Bay alerted us with his deafening hyena squeal. I envisioned a horse fight in our own herd, but he was squealing at the neighboring herd on the other side of our fence. Suddenly they spooked and ran back toward their property. The snapshot - four bay horses of varying sizes, cantering free, such an odd sight but beautiful. The wildness of horses is hidden with our domesticity, but there it was, flowing manes, tails, no fences.

Today: white sky, the bare black branches of trees in silhouette. Wind rushing, cold air. A glimpse of winter, nearly colorless but for the evergreens, which keep us hopeful.


Joni said...

Tell your daughter: Outstanding!

What great tenacity. Fantastic.

And the image of the horses running free. Beautiful.

Thanks for this. On this cold wet afternoon, this was warmth for the soul.

billie said...

You're most welcome. That cold rainy day pales in comparison to THIS one!!


Peter Bryenton said...

The Zen camera is technology proof.

I sometimes miss my old darkroom, now that it's become a lightroom.

billie said...

Peter, what a wonderful way to put it. Thank you.