Tag Archives: family

On A Hill

May 23, 2010

Click to play a slideshow of On A Hill

I often walk this hill.

I imagine when my great grandparents and my grandmother and her siblings finally settled at the foot of this immense mound, they had already looked up at its greatness for several years.

I imagine them, maybe, walking about the hill, maybe, taking a break from farming the land. And, really, I can only imagine them looking over the valley and seeing woods covering Sunderland, Amherst, Hadley, Northampton, Easthampton, and beyond, that little more exist.

Sun setting and rain a few miles away.

 

I imagine my mom riding her horse around this hill, young like me. That’s what I imagine her doing here.

When I look from the top of this hill, I see the farm, still in the family; my parents’ work hard for a life I’m not sure I will take on.

I see the University of Massachusetts, treetops, crevasses where there are major roads, and mountains I believe exist in the works of Erastis sailsburyfield.

So many times I have walked up this hill – with neighbors, family, friends, horses, dogs, boyfriends, Sean.

Mostly, I feel, it’s the one thing here that isn’t stale.

Clover.

When I was young, a real child, and the hill was covered in snow, just so the grass couldn’t poke through, I would walk alone making footprints with intensions, walking backwards.

If the snow melted in the sun and hardened into a half inch of crust at night, we would all scurry our way up the hill, and slide down, and dive off whatever our vehicle was before hitting pickers at the bottom.

When the snow was light, we would hitch up the horse to the sleigh and ride up and around on sunny days.

When there was no snow, no mud from the spring thaw, and the grass was short, we’d ride the horses around there too. I think my earliest memories of being on the hill is of my parents shifting me on and off the front of the saddle; one of them always holding me around my tummy.

That might have been before they rented the field out, but I don’t really know.

One renter planted cow corn. The neighbors and I would run through the isles of tall stalks, getting whipped by long fuzzed leaves.

Click to play a slideshow of On A Hill.

Later on, we got a new renter, who does hay. It was always fun to climb the gold bails, to try and push them around. We were all too weak and young. I’m pretty sure we all loved the smell, of the dried grass warming in the sun. The dust would tickle our noses.

Before we were of age, we learned how to drive out there. Before grandma died, when I was practicing how to drive, we put her in the car too. She liked going for rides. She told me to put the pedal to the metal, of course I didn’t. I always think about that when I’m driving and I think of grandma.

I was real sad then, when I was in high school. I did a lot of imagining. I would always imagine romantic affairs up there. Who wouldn’t want to be up the hill, seeing everywhere, so far, with someone you love who loves you back? But I was mostly alone then.

So, sometimes I would take the dog up there – just the two of us. She was really my mom’s dog, and I could never have loved her as much, but it made me happy to see the dog prancing through grass three feet high or snow three feet deep. Then we’d have to pick the tics off her, or melt away the beads of snow caught in her paws. Once she bit a porcupine up there and it took days to get the quills out. That was a long night.

Fallen and dried.

Mostly we go up there at night anyways, I mean, when the sun is setting, at the end of the day. Sometimes, we all would walk up there and see UMass lit up at night. It was even easier to see the stars, the Milky Way, the moon.

Today, I walked up there with my camera. It’s a good camera. I can take some pretty good photos. The grass was mixed in with clover. The hill is passed spring, so there is no mud and the anthills are underway. It’s not ready for hay, hasn’t even been planted. Actually, I don’t know if it will. But I have to walk carefully, like my parents would always tell me, not to tramp all over the clover and grass. So, I walked carefully, trying not to trample all over the hill. I took some pictures. And, really, what I thought this time is, man, it’s going to be hard to leave this, one day.

Click to play a slideshow of On A Hill

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A Moment in Time

This is my A Moment in Time photograph taken at 11 a.m. Sunday in western Massachusetts.

Sunday mornings in my family's kitchen.

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Photo of the Day – Cookies

April 21, 2010

Baked chocolate chip cookies for my family.

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Portobello Road Market

Portobello Road Market is definitely one London site hyped up by travel books and site seers, and I’d say it does live up to its reputation. People who want to see the whole market and road should start from the north at the Ladbroke Grove tube stop and make their way south east towards the Nottinghill Gate tube stop.

Starting at the top are clothes, clothes and more clothes, vintage and trendy. But here’s the thing – these clothes are cheaper than those down by Nottinghill Gate.

Used clothes and yard sale items.

You will also find more artisans at this part of the road than at the bottom where most of the items tend to be specialized and shop oriented, as well as more expensive.

Bangles and bracelets.

 

Leather bound books.

Further down, things get a little more trendy and mass-produced. A lot of these items can be found elsewhere than Portobello Road Market, so keep than in mind when spending money becuase it’s easy to do here.

Trendy bags.

Soon, one will start to see lots and lots of fresh fruits and vegetables stands, candy stands, paella stands, bread and cheese stands – all kinds of mouth-watering-food-stands, as well as side-street shops and restaurants at a somewhat affordable price. You just have to scout out where you want to score your bargain. One will also encounter some interesting characters and out of the ordinary street performers who will probably put a smile on your face.

One swinging group.

 

What characters one does find.

Lady singing.

If you’re lucky you’ll spot a cute unique tea set for under 10 Pounds, a vintage film camera, or a zebra skin.

8 Pounds

And then you will notice how posh things are getting. Not only will you be paying attention to pickpocketers, but you’ll be gripping your cash.

Posh car.

 

Posh and colourful.

And, if you pay enough attention and make it to the end of Portebello Road, you may be pleasantly surprized to find the house where George Orwell once resided.

Orwell, writer and literary journalist, lived here.

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Cookies

This is the most sequential thing I’ve shot on the Canon T1i. Clearly its automatic settings aren’t the greatest in low light – it’s no 5d Mark, but I think the results are great compared to other still cameras that shoot video.

There are a few continuity errors. Feel free to point them out. I’ll keep a tally. 

Not too sure how to categorize this piece, but one might consider calling it a documentary montage. It’s not really an essay. For the record, the cat jumped up there herself (poor manners).

More to come!

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