A few months ago my father-in-law mentioned he had an old Nikon D70 somewhere in the basement and did I want it? I had just bitten into an apple when he asked. I choked on said apple. Want it?! I had wanted a DSLR every day of the last decade of my life, but couldn’t — and will not for a long time be able to — budget the cost. To be handed such a gift?! I sputtered like a fish caught outside the tide. Not three minutes later he came back up the stairs with a box (the original box, mind you, with all original paperwork, manuals, lenses and accessories; a habit my husband has inherited), and so goes the story of how Theia joined the family.
Kidding! I don’t name my tech. But I do love the camera, and mid-October I had my first chance to test it in the field, so to speak — the family was headed east to visit my brother-in-law and his wife in Philadelphia for a long weekend, and I had obsessed over everyday shooting enough to feel I could quasi-confidently go MANUAL. Ha! So many failures. I think I took some 200 pictures, and only these here truly made the cut SOOC. 13% success rate. It’s a start.
The trip itself was lovely; my Philly feelings even edging on the brotherly this time around. But it’s the country there that gets to me, the hillsides, the hollows. I get this overwhelming sense while in the original colonies that — despite my desert Rockies and wild West — I’ve somehow missed the true America, and there is something lonely in that while simultaneously world-abundant; like stepping one slippered foot from ship to Plymouth stone.
1: New England autumn from seat A17.
2-7: Winterthur, a DuPont estate in Delaware. Quite sure we were the youngest visitors that day by a good half-century; the children’s garden, empty, was my favorite. Mini megaliths, a fairytale cottage, bird’s nest for a Titan’s robin, with enormous wooden eggs that wobble-rolled down a ramp and over the koi bridge. Also: a ring of oversize mushroom where, when one stood in the midst of them, mist rose up from the ground and all around you.
The tiny, bright violet fruits are callicarpa, or beautyberries, which I love for name and Wonka-candy-ality. I don’t even like purple. Stole a handful.
8-10: Driving through Lancaster County. Hand-scrawled sign accompanying the pumpkins declared them “Fairy Tail” variety.
11-14: My brother-in-law scheduled an hour with UPenn’s Special Collections to see their Wycliffe Bible. The history of this Book, its translations and the religious reformations tied to it are something sacred to me and I shook with the weight of it.
15/16: Independence Hall. Color compass of my dreeeeeaaaamz.
17-21: Valley Forge/Washington’s Headquarters. I would move in tomorrow.
22/23: Germantown, specifically Cliveden, with its bullet holes in the plaster walls from The Battle of.
24/25: from the iPhone: Penn/Columbia game, last evening walk through the city.
Not pictured: Walt Whitman’s house. Photography not allowed. O whirl, contest, sounding and resounding! (I was not happy about this.)