Thursday, July 15, 2010

The 'Faraway Nearby'

My long-standing admiration for Ms. Georgia O'Keeffe and her work has been noted here before now. As my study of her life and work has progressed I've felt more and more in her a kindred spirit. Superficially, a glance shows only the differences between us: she painted, I write; she preferred the desert, I prefer wooded areas; she enjoyed a career spanning about six decades, my career is nascent. Beyond that surface treatment, however, I find reassurance in the discovery that we've been in some of the same locations: Wisconsin; Lake George, NY; Williamsburg and Charlottesville, VA; Columbia, SC.

The heart of this kinship, I find, is the trait of an independent spirit. The doctor's assessment of me at two weeks of age applies to her as well: a mind of her own and not afraid to use it.

Looking over some photos from a day-trip during the Independence Day Holiday I see evidence of this kinship blossoming in my own artistic pursuits. Indeed, it appears it may be developing into a pattern. In 2009 I shot "Equine Pelvis With Sky", my take on "Pelvis With Distance." This year I shot my own view from the 'Faraway Nearby.'

I may live in the Big City, but I live a pretty simple life. So, I put on my Simple Shoes*, plopped a hat on my head and headed to Amicalola Falls State Park ** where my husband and I hiked up past the falls on up to the lodge for lunch. Sitting there by a wall of windows I was enchanted by the blue of the Blue Ridge and the carefree flight of several hawks, one of whom I was fortunate to capture in this shot.

Only later did I realize, "That's the 'Faraway Nearby'!" There it was, an interpretation of a mountain view - forested and sans the antlered skull - that evoked that same paradox of vastness and immediacy, elusiveness and intimacy. Those mountains feel they could never be reached, however far I might stretch myself. Then, suddenly I realize I was right there, right there in the midst of them.
I've shared merely the bones of my experience climbing that trail, looking out at the range from above the falls. It will serve, I hope, as an image found in the spirit of independence.

[Photos: Falls at Amicalola Falls State Park, Dawsonville, GA; view from restaurant in lodge at Amicalola Falls State Park; 5 July 2010]

*Seriously, they're literally Simple Shoes
** Amicalola Falls, Cherokee for 'Tumbling Waters,' is the highest waterfall east of the Mississippi. It is located in northern Georgia at the southern end of the Appalachian range. You can enter the Appalachian Trail here.

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