View From Rice Corner

Porch View, Brookfield, Russell Steven Powell oil on canvas, 14x11

Porch View, Brookfield, oil on canvas, 14×11

THE FIELDS ARE ALIVE and moving, season to season, year to year. Nothing is exactly as we remember it.

Strawberries were once grown in the foreground. Untended, it was taken over by pickerel grass. Later it became a ball field before reverting to a mixture of grasses and flowers: black-eyed Susan and wild geranium, buttercup and clover.

Millions of lives traversed, nested, or burrowed in it, mostly unseen until the field was shorn by a clattering mowing machine in mid-summer, creating a mass, temporary exodus.

There’s a pond now on the left at the base of the hill, bordered by cattails and iris, home to the occasional heron. You don’t see many turtles and frogs these days. The high-bush blueberries are gone, but there still are pockets of elderberry and, of course, tangles of bittersweet and burdock and blackberry canes around the borders.

Pyramids of bright red squash once burst into flame on the far hillside every fall, lighting up like beacons in the late afternoon sun. They abruptly gave way to timothy and alfalfa, then to house lots. Before that it was an apple orchard.

The stately elm trees along the road have been gone for decades. The ancient, twisting maple survived them, but now it, too, is gone. The porch from which this view was taken was later removed.

Still the view beckons.

The red squash before it was stacked into pyramids

* * *

MY DEAR FRIEND Greg passed away yesterday after a courageous, years-long battle with cancer. He was a brave and kind man, well loved by all who knew him. May his memory never fade.

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6 comments

  1. Hey Russ, sorry to hear about Greg, now I know why the sentimental piece. After living on RCR for over twenty years now I can see and smell the descriptions you present. It will always be home, huh Russ? I guess it always will be for me. Love you man, EG

  2. There is a universal quality to this piece which, to this reader, is evocative rather than sentimental. “Home,” as we remember it, is as changeable and protean as the fields, and friendship endures well beyond death.

    I am sorry for your loss, Russell, but grateful for what you get to keep.

  3. My heart wrapped around this piece, Russell. The earth changes, and we are part of it all: living, struggling, dying, being re-born. Caresses of your friend’s memory, and love, to you…Julie
    My first thought of the painting: “I want that tablecloth!”

  4. Such a touching and universal piece, Russell…I can hear your voice, see the place. Are you the lad in the red trousers?

    I am so sorry to hear about your loss!

    Fondly,
    Elena

  5. I return in mind’s eye immediately…..as if it was just yesterday when I walked those fields, skiied the ridge above the pond, swam naked on thick August nights in that cool water….made music smelling the freshly cut hay, under the loud and brilliant stars….great photo as well…..

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