Sippican Cottage

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A Man Who Has Nothing In Particular To Recommend Him Discusses All Sorts of Subjects at Random as Though He Knew Everything


I never have a camera when I need one. My kid could hit a walk-off home run in the seventh game of the World Series, round the bases heading for home to pick up his Nobel Prize in physics and his Congressional Medal of Honor from dignitaries waiting at Home Plate, and I’d say to my wife: “Gee, I wish I brought the camera. “

To be a photographer is to record, not to participate fully. It’s unselfish in a way, and standoffish in another. You are there; but just. The professional photographer’s a whole ‘nother animal. He either isn’t there, an outsider gazing at you like a scientist looking into a petri dish, or he’s arranging the scene to suit his art, and he’s the center of attention. I have no idea what a drunk guy with a camera phone represents, unless he’s with Paris Hilton.

At any rate, sometimes a thing happens in my yard. You can feel it coming. It gathers around the edges of the horizon, egged on by mists from the nearby ocean, chastened by the stalwart boles of the pines, and lowered down on your head like a veil — or a crown.

My wife usually tells me it’s about to happen; the bats tell her. They circle the periphery of the patch of lawn outside our back door, hugging the shadows and gently lowering themselves, like the light, until it’s satiny dark and you hear the soft susurrus of their leathery wings right over your head.

There’s a tipping point, when the gathered indistinct aureole of haze shot through with pastels snaps like a twig and reveals the underlying sky. It only lasts for a moment, and only comes in the spring.

I got it last week, a minute apart; lord knows what my kids were doing that I should have recorded for the ages and missed while I pointed the camera aimlessly into the sky like a loon:

And then, like all the moments you missed because you were in them, it was gone.

2 Responses

  1. Story – In The Gloaming lyrics |

    In the gloaming, oh my darling
    When the lights are soft and low
    And the quiet shadows, falling,
    Softly come and softly go
    When the trees are sobbing faintly
    With a gentle unknown woe
    Will you think of me and love me,
    As you did once, long ago
    In the gloaming, oh my darling
    Think not bitterly of me
    Though I passed away in silence
    Left you lonely, set you free
    For my heart was tossed with longing
    What had been could never be
    It was best to leave you thus, dear,
    Best for you, and best for me
    In the gloaming, oh my darling
    When the lights are soft and low
    Will you think of me, and love me
    As you did once long ago

  2. Ah, my friend Gerard always brings something to the table.

    Always liked this one, too:

    By The Fireside

    I could picture Bertie Wooster butchering that one while Jeeves looks on disapprovingly.

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