“I always say joy is the happiness that doesn’t depend on what happens.” ~ Br. David Steindl-Rast
Christmas is just around the corner. So, let’s deck the halls, or the fence as the case may be, and be of good cheer as we stuff our gullets with sweets, watch our waistlines grow beyond all reckoning, and tryptophan our way into the new year. Who’s with me?
It’s well known that the bond between women and horses defy words however elegant and precise they may be. The fact is this: once a woman has cared for horses she is forever changed and drawn to them. Even the smell of their waste can bring on nostalgic butterflies. Stacy had horses when she was a young girl. Still she pines for them. When we were at Shakertown after Thanksgiving we came across these beauties. Beyond that, the photo speaks for itself. Some loves never leave us.
“Live for the moments you can’t put into words.” ~ Unknown
Of all the places at Shakertown that offered beauty, I found this quaint pen of chickens and hogs to be my favorite, for that day anyway. I watched them for the longest time. One hog was snoring. Chickens took turn about walking ’round them like Exhibit A before clicking the fence perimeter and retreating back to the snoring mounds. The gorgeous rooster, who seemed unusually nonplussed by humans, kept a careful eye on his girls though he was less enthusiastic about the hogs than they were. I know they’re not lions and lambs, but something about the pen put me in mind of them. Blessed peaceful communion. We humans could take a tip from these creatures.
“There are a lot of people who are doing wonderful things, quietly, with no motive of greed, or hostility toward other people, or delusions of superiority.” ~ Charles Kuralt
Back in October I came down with bronchitis that took nearly four weeks to get over. For the last two weeks, I’ve felt really good, and I’ve been very, very busy at work and at home. Today, I awoke feeling ill again, and I’ve been under the weather all day despite every antidote I’ve tried. One thing I’ve learned about myself is that really busy periods are more often than not followed by an extreme health event, such as today. It’s my body’s way of saying slow down. I hear you, universe. Can we arrange the next collapse for after the holiday season, please? There’s lots to be done, and most of it fun. I’m sure we can come to some agreement. Now, I will get a long night’s rest as my part of the bargain.
“The past is like using your rear-view mirror in the car. It’s good to glance back and see how far you come, but if you stare too long you’ll miss what’s right in front of you.” ~ Kyle Dempsey
This building sits beside the road near Shakertown. I would love to know exactly what it was – I suspect gas station/general store – and I’d love see a photo during its heyday. I’ve wanted to photograph it for years, but never bothered to stop for 10 minutes and really look at it. Last week, I did just that.
The wide porch suggests it once provided gas, though it’s not nearly wide enough for modern pumps. I expect it had those skinny Mayberry old-style pumps. The most intriguing feature for me, however, is the stone. More than the Kentucky fieldstone normally used in this area, it looks like Oklahoma fieldstone, in color and shape, which of course just makes me love it all the more.
I observed the ‘no trespassing’ sign…mostly. I didn’t go into the building, so that counts, right? I couldn’t help myself, though. I had to peek inside. It’s always disheartening to see fabulous old buildings like this in decay, but from a photographic point of view, they make perfect subjects. Still, I’d rather they be preserved so future generations can enjoy them, too, and perhaps appreciate a simpler time. I’m glad I took 10 minutes to take a closer look. It was 10 minutes well spent.
“The best way to make your dreams come true is to wake up.” ~ Paul Valery
Every once in a while Stacy and I go to Shakertown after Thanksgiving. Today was just such an occasion, and we couldn’t have asked for a more perfect day. The crisp air was just right. The sun was warm, and the clouds provided the perfect decoration. We had a long, delicious lunch followed by hours of rambling about the village grounds visiting with the animals. This ram made a line for me from across the paddock. I thought he was going to smack the fence where I was standing, but instead he very gently presented his head to me. For the longest time he stood as still as a tree while I rubbed his nose and face, and he didn’t shy away from the camera at all. I mean, look at his smile! Stacy and I had a great day of furry friends, food, and fresh air. Just what the doctor ordered.
“We are told to let our light shine, and if it does, we won’t need to tell anybody it does. Lighthouses don’t fire cannons to call attention to their shining – they just shine.” ~ Dwight L. Moody
Though it is mid-October when we should be settling in with a big pot of chili and bonfire, instead, in Kentucky at least, we’re wearing t-shirts, flip-flops, and living with the AC on. Such a climatological delay provides unique beauty. I enjoy being part of it.
I love dead or dying trees. I seem to notice them more than I used to. Their forms stand in contrast to their leafy brethren, like a skeleton in a classroom. I hate to see a dead tree that’s old, but even it’s still a starkly beautiful form. Such is the circle of life. Beauty everywhere.
“Autumn shows us how beautiful it is to let things go.” ~ TinyBuddha
The Sara Holroyd Singers sang the bulk of yesterday’s performance at a huge black barn on a ridge at Shakertown. I had never been to that part of the property before. The view was incredible, as you can see, and the vibe for music was outstanding. They ought to do more music there, and I ought to do more photos, especially during a thunderstorm. I bet it’s spectacular! It was pretty spectacular on a hot October day for sure.
“What was true yesterday may not be true today. Be. Here. Now. Grow, change, evolve.”
~ Timber Hawkeye
I had the most inspiring day with the soulful voices of the Sara Holroyd Singers (SHS). You might recall meeting Sara back in August. I said then that she had been a beloved choral prof at UK, and here’s a little proof of that. SHS was started by the stunningly gracious Reneé Collins, and features other alumni like her who studied under Sara. I highly recommend checking out their website because Reneé and her partner, Warren Cobb; an equally awesome dude, have done a fantastic job pulling together interview and performance videos of Sara and the group.
Today, as part of a Gathering of Songfarmer’s at Shakertown, SHS sang a selection of Shaker Worship songs that they first sang with Sara many years ago. I’m told they also danced the Shaker dances back then, but they declined to do so today. Don’t let that “many years ago” fool you, however. As you can see above, they’ve still got a lot of get up and go even without the dance routine. Vocally, I can’t imagine that they were any better then than they were today. It was as if the angels sang.
I can’t say enough great things about Reneé (below). Not only has she put together the Sara Holroyd Singers (A Room 17 Production), she also spearheads the Sara Holroyd Oral History Project. Her day job is consulting for The Office of Institutional Diversity at UK. I’ve taken her Unconscious Bias workshop, and I can honestly say it was the most informative workshop I’ve ever attended. But that’s not at all surprising given how gifted, outgoing, and warm-hearted she is. Reneé embodies the hopeful, joyous spirit Sara imparted to all her students, and it shines bright as the sun.
I got to make a few new friends today as well, like fellow photog Randy (who’s last name I can’t remember to save my life). His wife played the part of Mother Ann, and he does photography mostly as a hobby. Randy and I had a great talk about gear in between sets, and he really came to the rescue when the group decided they wanted a photo on the famous Shaker staircase after flash mobbing dining guests with a song. Naturally, I didn’t have my flash (because I rarely do). Thankfully Randy had his. So this super sweet guy saved the day, or at least that shot. I met many kind hearts like Randy’s today. They gave me a wonderful few hours filled with exquisite singing that the Shakers themselves would have adored. I couldn’t ask for a better day in better company.