So I’m out early this morning taking pictures and I pull up to this horse that seems to be deep in thought. I talk to him to try to get him to face the camera but he ignores me, so I took one of him thinking about whatever it is he’s thinking about.
Then he turns to me and says: “You,” he said, “are a terribly real thing in a terribly false world, and that, I believe, is why you are in so much pain.”
I was driving down the local back roads this morning watching the Amish farmers get their fields ready for planting. They don’t like to be photographed but it’s hard to resist, fortunately he hid behind one of the horses and all you can see is his hat (I planned it that way).
It took a few minutes for him to get close enough and I heard him singing an old song I recognized. Maybe it was my imagination, but it seemed as clear as day and it went like this:
“Green Acres is the place to be. Farm livin’ is the life for me. Land spreadin’ out so far and wide, keep Manhattan, just give me that countryside.”
There are eight million stories in the naked county; this has been one of them.
Yesterday I found these yellow columbines at Kitchen Kettle Village in Intercourse. The light was perfect, I had a tripod, and it was as calm as a virgin who never told a lie. But for some reason I ignored all that, I was indecisive and hungry so I left.
This afternoon I went back and it was cloudy and windy. I stayed for an hour in the hope that everything would change, it didn’t, the decisive moment was yesterday.
Henri Cartier-Bresson once said: “Photographers deal in things which are continually vanishing and when they have vanished there is no contrivance on earth which can make them come back again.”
When I drive through this part of Intercourse on a Sunday morning, I usually see at least 20 horse and buggies traveling on the back roads. Sunday is their day for spending time with family and members of the community.
I don’t know a lot about these so I did some research. Modern Amish buggies have brakes, an electrical system for lights and turn signals, and are available in any color you want as long as it’s black.
The asking price for this beauty is $3700, which may or may not be a great deal. The owner and the horse were not available, but I’m guessing that the horse is taking a much needed vacation. They work in the snow, rain, heat and gloom of night much like a mailman, but with fewer benefits and no days off.
As the Amish saying goes: “Alle Daag rumhersitze macht em faul,” which means sitting all day makes one lazy. Of course, of course.
It was a brisk 25 degrees this morning so I decided to go out and photograph the sunrise. My destination was the Leacock Presbyterian Church in Intercourse, Pennsylvania. Its close, I know exactly where the sun comes up, and there’s a big tree and a little shed for the foreground.
Since I was up an hour and a half too early to leave, I considered other possibly more interesting places to go. Middle Creek Wildlife Management Area had potential with thousands of snow geese, but it’s further away and there’s a hike down a dark trail to the lake.
I considered various other lakes, rivers, and bridges with great views, but spectacular sunrises do not magically appear every morning, as all photographers know. So I decided on Intercourse, which is always a good choice.
The sunrise was perfect as every sunrise is, though my photos insist that it was nothing special. But I went out, got some fresh air in between cigarettes, and watched the sun come up and another day begin.
As scientists, taxi drivers and long haul truckers know, the sunrise is an illusion. To get up early, stand outside on a cold morning, and watch a beautiful illusion is worth it to me every time.