Isn't he magnificent?!? This is how he appears from our front steps throughout our green-season months. His presence is the first thing I register when I hit the bottom of the stairs and automatically open the door to release the cat. But there's nothing automatic about the way I stand and gaze at our property's western guardian every morning and night. One of the things I love most about this image (other than it being one of the few times I've successfully captured the greenalicious haze and harmony that personifies what this place looks and feels like roundabout my birthday) relates to the way Grandfather's shadow rolls up the widening lawn in a capture that illustrates his clear embrace of this Place.
[I'd also like to point out the graceful young Maple lass in the lower left third's top edge. She is growing from a stump we judged to be 10 to 15 years old upon arrival. I blogged about Her a few times in the first years here before my big Unplug.]
I took this picture from the dooryard/driveway of the farmhouse across the road. For awhile now I've been drawn to have reference material for drawing Grandfather from his west-facing profile-side. Before that I'd spent an hour or so bombing around in the part of our little woods that's open to human passage. Eventually this brought me back where I'd started and set me walking along the mildly nerve-wracking (due to its narrowness) hump of walk-able ground between woods terrain and the most oft-traveled road in these parts.
Grandfather's north-facing profile is something I don't usually notice. To begin with, this road is dangerous to walk along although people do it all the time. Living where I do I've borne at least auditory and directly-after-the-fact witness to the human risk* of doing so. Driving on the road with my array of witness experiences, I'm virtually never looking at the tree although I surely feel his presence holding me steady. Keeping me on point constantly scanning for *people who, more than likely, have no choice but to walk the road in order to secure their groceries. But I do often admire his opposite southern-facing profile from the passenger's seat with J. when we're heading home from where-ever we've been to the south or west.
This was the best approximation/partial rendering I could get from the middle of the far less traveled street just around the corner from the road. Truncated to insure privacy for my farm neighbors. Except these two who were STOKED when I appeared first in the cow's line of vision across the road and then drawing ever-closer while cow did the same and then directly adjacent to the goat's rock there just inside their electrified World. Both of them posed almost expectantly. Realized they'd been watching me snippy-snap all my way along the journey to THEIR place and probably understand on their own terms about phone cameras. But more importantly I realized at a sensory level their oasis of Sanctuary. Both clearly secure in their Place within a larger Place-for-All. Farmer lady told me summer before last that the goat could easily jump clear of the wires whenever he pleased "but he likes the cow." Indeed. Who wouldn't.
While I was talking to them as I rewarded their posing efforts I realized Grandfather is part of their bedrock life's landscape just as much as mine. I don't know what that means to them collectively as a micro-herd or as individuals. But I know they know Grandfather is there.