"Are you leaving?" asked the old man. Yes, she said and finished her outdoor routine. She picked up her camera and whooshed out, screen door slamming behind her. The old man blinked a few times and looked around the room. More green, he thought. More green. One wall was covered with 4x6 photos, the other walls each contained one large print-more green.
She walked briskly up the road, camera at the ready. Covered neck to toe in white and wearing a big navy blue flat-brimmed nylon hat and a reflective vest, she made her way slowly north, bending over and looking through the close-up lens. What she could see there! The patterns and the details! Triliums, trout lilies, dandelions, wild strawberries. Horsetail, crabgrass, buttercups and daisies! The side of the road never ceased to amaze and awe her...I catch a glimpse of her facial profile in the rearview mirror as she straightens up. She could be young or not. Long dark hair and dark glasses conceal eyes. Look up, I want to say--new leaves, blossoms! Birds, clouds! Look up!
You may wonder where this came from...real life and a story. I usually make up stories about the pictures I use in my art. Now I realize that I am making up stories about real life in the present. That's a good thing, right? On my petsit drives back and forth on Ashfield Road, I see her. Almost every day, bent over her close-up lens, never acknowledging a car or nodding to anyone, she examines the ditches and banks on the side of the road.
Who is she? Does she live alone or have a family? Does she live in the little cabins by the Mill River? Is she someone who has been here forever, or a former city person who just recently discovered nature? Her seeming reluctance to acknowledge puts me off. I don't want to break into her solitude. What might I find if I did?
Like bees in a hive, we are all interconnected. Some of us reach out and others look within. Life would be wonderful if we all embraced each other with a smile or a nod. But as my Uncle Mike used to say, "it takes all kinds!" Meanwhile I'm waiting to hear about an art show--subject: the side of the road.