The Barefoot Photographer®

a photography blog

Saturday, March 7, 2009

I Have Regrets and Memories

Earlier today I was out running some errands.  Usually my route will take me by farms.  Most of the time I choose to take the more "rural" route if possible.  I prefer to be out where there are cows and land rather than parking lots and traffic.  Today I saw something that caused me to be very sorry I did not have a camera with me.

Many people carry a camera at all times.  They like to have it handy in the event they see something that they are compelled to photograph.  I saw something today that I am compelled to photograph -- but I had no camera in the car.

What did I see?  A newly plowed field.  A lot of people won't even notice a plowed field.  Some see it and see nothing but dirt.  I see one and I think about my childhood.

When I saw that field I could actually smell the fresh dirt and feel my feet in it.  I spent many days following my grandfathers in their gardens.  Of course, I was barefoot.  I love(d) the feel of fresh, new dirt beneath my feet.  The cool ground is soothing.  The worms and other bugs scurry for cover.  Every now and then my granddaddy would spot an arrowhead in the dirt.  I can remember this like it was yesterday -- and believe me it was not yesterday.  I remember one time in particular he had found one, picked it up, and rubbed the dirt from it with his thumb.  I asked him for it and he gave it to me.  I have others that he had collected in my home.  They are very special to me.

Seeing that field today brought me back to picking a cherry tomato from the plant and eating it right there on the spot -- back to looking down the rows of corn at the silk hanging from the ripening ears.  It reminded me of pulling turnips from the ground.  And it brought back the memory of walking from the garden to the old well, dropping the bucket down the deep, dark hole, and reeling it in so I could dip into the bucket for what seemed like an ice-cold drink on a hot day in the garden.

At my other granddaddy's garden there was a big patch of honeysuckle at one side along the road.  I could stand at the edge of the garden, in the cool, loose soil and pick blooms from that honeysuckle to "get the honey out of it" until I got tired -- or until I found a spider hiding in a bloom and was too scared to pick another one.

The photo on the blog today is one of the last photos I have taken at my grandparents' property. I hope to take many more later this year when I get home for a visit.

I regret not having my camera with me today.  But more than that I regret not having more photos of the land that means so much to me.  One granddaddy's old place is forever changed.  It is only in my memory at this point.  The other land is still there, still in the family, and that makes me very happy.  If I could -- I would have bought it myself to just keep as it is.  I spent a lot of time wandering around there.  Days like this make me think of that line from Gone With The Wind.  When Gerald O'Hara tells Scarlett:  "Do you mean to tell me, Katie Scarlett O'Hara, that Tara, that land doesn't mean anything to you?  Why land is the only thing in the world worth working for, worth fighting for, worth dying for because it's the only thing that lasts." (And boy isn't that the truth considering the economy of today!)

Many times you will see things to jog your memory.  You will want to have a photo of it.  Not really because of what the place literally is -- but what the place reminds you of.  I want a photo of that plowed field.  I will probably go back to see about it tomorrow.  When I get the photo I want to have, I will be able to hear my grandfather's voice and feel my feet in the dirt when ever I look at the photo of a stranger's field.


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