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talking to the trees

Most experiences cannot be discussed. No one wants to hear the ugly truth, and chances are you will be attacked for sharing it. To be able to speak freely means that you need a willing listener, otherwise you are just talking to the trees. Time and again I have come to understand that there is no difference between New York and Moscow, no difference between East and West. They are just cults of personality, built on violence and money and moral quicksand.

The life of an expat evolves from those early, awkward victories to one of assimilation or in cases like mine - eventually understanding that you have no country you can (or want to) call home. I am left with just these four walls and my family. This apartment is the only place I actually belong. This is the only place I do not need to soft-pedal my thoughts, where I do not need to apologize for what I have unearthed. The river of betrayal runs deep whether I look outside, or across the ocean. Willful ignorance, willful indifference…

terribly awake

I make lists every night before I go to sleep, things to remember in the morning when I am shoving breakfast into my mouth, slugging down coffee looking out at the sky wondering if it will rain. Batteries, notebooks, bulbs for lights, water bottles that sit cold at the bottom of the fridge. The last days of summer seem to be here, the mornings cold and windy. I wish I had started shooting a few weeks earlier. I could be editing now, in a sweatshirt with a blanket across my legs and the windows open to the cool air, awake. Terribly awake.

There is a rhythm to building the camera, a methodical ballet from tripod to knobs tightened, to base plate to focus rods, to body, lens, follow focus. Lens caps are pocketed in the same spots. It is all about putting things where you need them, about going step by step so everything is in its place, when your hand falls it finds what it needs without looking. 

I see the world more quickly when the camera is ready. Here, blades of dry grass in the right place. Here, train tracks lost in the weeds. Here, an old blue house with a man selling pumpkins by the side of the road. 

I am not hungry when I shoot. My feet wet in the early grass I move quickly, somehow untired, stronger than normal. It is like a slow drip of adrenaline, a steady pulse of will and ambition, of desire. That is what it feels like to shoot your own film. 

There are only two things in the world - what is in the film and what is not. I do not notice the old man in the kaftan that mumbles on the corner, the old woman sitting in a parking lot selling dirty bunches of parsley. I ignore the smell of garbage, the sight of gasoline rainbows in the gutter. I eat peanut butter sandwiches for dinner and think nothing of my favorite salumi counter, maybe empty and gone after the sanctions take their toll or maybe with fresh chunks of pecorino and great soft rounds of mortadella nestled beneath the glass. 


oldswimmer said…
Somehow the tower in the distance behind the tassels of Autumn reminds me so much of the Pilgrim Monument in Provincetown Massachusetts!

It may be simply that September is when I used to go to Cape Cod, and the grasses are like that. Fall. Clear. Cold. Such nice photos, both.

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