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the boyd place

By way of comparison (and to illustrate how good smartphone cameras are), this was taken at about the same time as the previous shot, but on a Samsung Galaxy S4, which by no means has a top of the line camera. But the shot holds its own with the previous one, taken with a good Canon camera and a very good Canon lens (except perhaps in making a large print).

I like how this photo gives you more ready access to the buildings, even though I didn’t think I stepped in closer than on the other shot. Could just be that the Samsung has a 31mm lens, which brings you closer than the Canon lens, which was set at 26mm.


The Boyd Place, Wilmington, VT

February 26, 2017

Jeff Cox builds his wonderful 1985 book, Seasonal Celebrations, around the Chinese lunar-solar calendar, which divides the year into twenty four distinct periods. They begin with the Winter Solstice, and are then demarcated by the new or full moon, (or the equinoxes and remaining solstice). The names given to the periods are pure poetry; right now we are probably in The Period of Awakening of Creatures (Ching Che), which in 1986 ran from the full moon on Feb. 24 to the new moon on March 10.

I think of that book now, because it’s where I first found a reference to “the most delicate pastel pinks and blues” in the skies at dawn and dusk in the heart of winter. Skies like I had a couple of days ago when I took this photograph. He writes about it under The Period of the Greater Cold, (Ta Han), beginning on the new moon on January 10 to the full moon on January 26 (1986).

I’ve seen those pastels mostly in early March, maybe because I’m out more at that time of the year, the weather being warmer. As it was on this day, about 55 degrees when I took the picture.

Tomorrow, for comparison, I’ll be posting a smartphone picture of this same scene, taken at the same time of day.


changes on the land-6015

The title here is a nod to a (quite readable) book by the historian William Cronon, called Changes In The Land: Indians, Colonists and the Ecology of New England, found here. Anyone interested in early colonial New England and particularly the convergence of the Native American and European cultures at that time may find it worthwhile. The book is perhaps most succinctly summarized by one Amazon reviewer, who says: “Indians hunted for dinner and not for the market.” Cronon explores the many facets of that notion, including, interestingly enough, the role of status anxiety in both the cultures. That’s one thing that hasn’t changed much over the years.

Alternate title for this image: Ch-Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes. RIP David Bowie.


twilight birches-6059


sap buckets-6133


not this seasonB-

There’s a bit of melancholy here, a yearning; the sap is running and the maple syrup season in full swing but these buckets are sidelined (“Put me in, coach!!”). But at least they’re piled in an accessible place; ready for a hardy soul – still sugaring the old way – to put them to use once again.

Howard Prussack, a farmer friend, once reminded me how physically demanding maple sugaring can be; getting the sap from buckets to the evaporator requires a lot of heavy lifting. Of course most large scale operations now use saplines, and the power of gravity.


field at dusk-7290

The evening twilight grows longer with each passing day at this time of the year. The phenomenon has long been observed, and commented upon, in these parts: “as the day lengthens, so the cold strengthens.” Well, until the end of January anyway, when, according to the hardier souls up here, winter is basically over. This photo was taken about 25 minutes after sunset (and about 30 minutes after the photo immediately below).


golden hour-7247


sledding hill-7261

Before skiing became an industry, before televisions commonplace, and way before the advent of “electronic and social media”, kids were flying down hills like this in winter; on sleds, toboggans, coasters, the occasional jumping jack or even pieces of cardboard. I was one of those kids, and at this time of the day, might have been trying for one last good run.



Meanwhile, back up in the VT mountains, winter is in full swing.