There seems to have been a common desire, when stores and service stations closed for business, to leave the gas pumps standing. As a reminder of place and times. As a reminder the clerk did not need to question my statement of gallons and cost.
Three hundred and fifty years ago French artist Claude Lorraine began to brush warmth and atmosphere into his many landscapes and became known a the Painter of Light. Artists before his time, and many since, considered the landscape to be merely a stage backdrop behind other dramatic activity. Never the raison d'être.
Did it ever occur to him, as he fulfilled his lucrative commissions, that a errant backroads photographer, three hundred and fifty years later, would believe for a fleeting instant that he was Claude’s second coming. The correct answer is, of course, no.
Many of his paintings made a permanent trip to the Hermitage courtesy of Catherine the Great . Check some here.
"The man … laid his hands on him and after a while examined his feet and legs, then pinched his foot hard and asked if he felt it. He said ‘No’; then after that, his thighs; and passing upwards in this way he showed us that he was growing cold and rigid. And then again he touched him and said that when it reached his heart, he would be gone. The chill had now reached the region about the groin, and uncovering his face, which had been covered, he said — and these were his last words — 'Crito, we owe a cock to Asclepius.’ The attendant uncovered him; his eyes were fixed. And Crito when he saw it, closed his mouth and eyes."
This is Plato describing the poisoning of his mentor Socrates. And yes, this stout specimen by the fence is, indeed, Poison Hemlock chock full of coniine which disrupts the workings of the central nervous system. Ingestion in any quantity results in respiratory collapse and death. The USDA classifies the plant as Noxious Class C meaning, “kill as much of it as you want.” Surprisingly, it’s easy to find and prolific in places. I sometimes wonder if I should tell somebody, then realize that the USDA must have this one covered.
Say it, “Penstemon.” Peh, Peh, Pen-STEM-on. Easy on the tongue right. After all, some Latin names are more attractive and lyrical than others. Try for fit: Verbascum thapsis or Tragopodon pratensis or Elephantopus tomentosus. See what I mean. This beauty - the Hairy Beardtongue, Penstemon hirsuitis – prefers disturbed soils and dry banks where it can display and show off without serious competition. Works for me.
A sunny drive Northwest from Lebanon seven miles to Cleveland then three miles west, I noticed an unassuming road that dead ended by the railroad yard in Carbo. Curiosity often pays dividends and did that morning. This solitary red caboose tickled my interest and aroused my prospects. On the spot I instructed my agent to negotiate a deal with the railroad authorities to allow me to use this caboose, here, as the place to write my book. Photo impressions of rural backroads. Several years later I found time to revisit my iron wheeled garret to reenergize intentions to elevate my work to the next level. Sadly the yard was empty, the caboose was missing. Somebody must’ve moved it.
Today, this site recorded its 100,000th hit. One-by-one, since April 2005. But for a mere thimble full, all were anonymous. Each following an image search. International nomads pausing here for a momentary sample of rural heritage. Then, with a click, departing for sites unknown.