I’m Back

Hi everyone! I’ve been back since Saturday, but I didn’t really get the chance to write anything until today. I don’t have a fiction story or anything, but I do want to tell you guys about my trip upstate.

My trip upstate was great, even though it didn’t turn out how I expected. I was planning on going up by myself, but my dad decided to go up as well. I don’t know if I told you guys, but I have a decent amount of property up in New Paltz, 18 acres. There’s a lot of open space, but there’s also a lot of woods with paths going through.

I decided to make a little spot in the woods where all these scrub pines that my dad and uncles planted are dying.

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This is the aftermath. I managed to get it down in a little less than three hours. I had to use an axe because the chainsaw we have is probably around 30 years old and my uncle refuses to open up the one my cousin got him for reasons unknown to anyone.

You can’t see it in the picture, because it wasn’t planted yet, but I put in a dogwood tree a little to the left of where the tree fell.

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This is the dogwood. It was also a giant pain in the ass to put in the ground because we have horrible soil. In fact, it’s mostly clay and roots and rocks. You can barely get the shovel more than a couple inches into the ground without hitting a root or rock. It was extremely hard work, but at this point, I’m used to it and the end result always makes it worth it. I’m going to clear out a lot of that tall grass and make a little wildflower patch.

Other than back breaking work, I also went around and took pictures. It was interesting taking this picture because on the way, I almost killed a deer that jumped out in the road as I was driving to this spot.

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My uncle showed me this spot a couple years ago. The rock that you see in the foreground are insanely striated from (I’m assuming) the glaciers that passed over.

Well, I’ll try to have something for you all sometime this week. And in case you were wondering, these were all taken with my dad’s old pentax. The film is just cheap fujifilm.

Deer in the Fields

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Yes, this is just a picture of a deer in a field behind my backyard upstate, but the story of how I got this is much more exciting. I was thinking about writing a fiction piece related to the picture, but there’s no need. I’m going to just tell you guys exactly what happened.

 

Deer in the Fields

I’m with my uncle, taking pictures of the trails we’re walking on, looking for butterflies floating over the tall grasses that hide the yellow and white wildflowers.

We stop briefly to talk about how people subconsciously love the idea of being in fields. My uncle tells me that people will say they love being in open fields and meadows, but they aren’t sure why. The reason, he says, is because they aren’t looking close enough. When you stop and really look closely, you see tiny flowers and on those flowers, tiny insects, all hidden underneath the tall grasses that bigger insects use to rest on. Slithering through the grass are snakes, and watching from their perches located on or close to the treeline are hawks and other birds of prey, like turkey vultures. Chipmunks stay close to the rock wall that divides my property from someone else’s, calling the wall home, along with the rotten tree trunks still standing upright and filled with holes, like windows on a sky scraper. Life, my uncle continues to stress, can be found in all corners of the world, and it’s all beautiful.

Butterflies, as expected, are prevalent in the field, so we follow them around, hoping for the “perfect shot.” I already have the “perfect shot” hanging on the door leading to my basement. It’s a picture of a bumble bee and a tiger swallowtail collecting the nectar of a wild thistle plant. We both hoped to get a shot similar to that, but the butterflies were filled with energy and it was still early in the morning, so we couldn’t keep up.

We take a quick break and talk more about random things and I notice what looks  like a bird flapping its wings on the ground no less than a hundred yards away. I tell my uncle and he goes to investigate. The “wings” I saw turned out to be the ears of a deer, resting in the bed it made from the matted down grass. I wondered how it couldn’t see us considering how close we were and how loud we were, but then we realized the wind was blowing favorably towards us and loud enough to dull out the noise we were making.

My uncle saw this as an opportunity to see how close we could get and I quickly imagined how easily we could have downed it if we were into hunting. Each step we took created tons of noise. We had to maneuver through vines and shrubs, and as we did this, we inevitably broke sticks and made enough noise to spook it if the odds were in the deer’s favor. Next thing we know, we’re no less than fifteen yards away from a full grown doe, still completely unaware of our presence. I take out my camera, which only had a 35mm lens attached, and manage to take a clear picture. I knew I would have to crop it later, but I was still amazed at how close I was.

The deer finally heard us when my uncle took a picture with his camera and darted off. We were ready to head back when my uncle, this time, spotted another deer (the deer in the picture above). To make a long story short, we crept up on it the same way, wondering how it missed its buddy run off. Again, we took pictures and my uncle let me do the honors of seeing how close I could get.

I managed to get within the same distance as the last one, but this deer considered standing its ground, and rightfully so. The deer flapped its ears and grunted, while slowly coming closer to me. I slowly backed off, but it kept coming. The thought of being in serious trouble for pushing my luck entered my mind and I looked back at my uncle, who reassured me that I was doing the right thing. The second I turned my head back to the deer, it grunted loudly, figuratively giving me a heart attack, and it darted off in the opposite direction.

Like Wine

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I’ve been itching to write a story based on this specific picture for a while now. When I was looking at the huge barrels pointing towards Philadelphia, an ominous feeling was looming over me. I purposefully edited the water to exaggerate the feeling I had, which then gave me inspiration for a hint fiction story. Do you get a weird feeling looking at this? Like can you see yourself giving the orders to fire upon Philadelphia and looking on, awfully? Yes, I just used awfully in its archaic/literal form, as in, full of awe. Never thought I’d actually use that outside of a brit-lit survey class…

Anyways, enjoy the picture and story. Tell me what you think about both.

 

Like Wine

“The bridge is our number one priority.”

“Look at the water, Captain. Blood.”

“No…a young Merlot.”

“Aren’t you afraid?”

 

“That’s what the wine’s for.”

 

 

 

Philadelphia

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I was in Philadelphia this past week and took a bunch of pictures, but this one stood out to me the most. I’m going to write a totally fictional story based on this picture. I’m trying to play around with dialogue in a David Foster Wallace-type of way. I’m literally doing this right on the spot, without going back to edit it, so forgive me if it sucks. Feedback would be greatly appreciated.

 

Philadelphia

“You got fitty cent, Sir?”

“Nah, man. No one carries change anymore; you should know that.”

The man with one leg stared at blankly at me, but then, his eyes started telling another story. For a moment, the one-legged man felt vulnerable, and he sensed that I sensed it, so he continued to stare, but now with a more hardened look, hoping I would cave and give him change.

“…”

“Well, God bless, Sir,” said the old man, who slowly approached my younger brother who was walking ahead of me.

“What about you? You got fitty cent?”

“He doesn’t got it either. Keep moving,” I yelled.

He looked back and smiled, realizing we were related, and took off–backwards. The one-legged man turned his wheel chair around and slalomed between parked cars and oncoming traffic, asking for change from anyone he thought was paying attention to him.

The locals did know him though. Every morning, he wakes up from outside the hotel and yells at the waves of guests. Outside the hotel is ideal because the people are from out of town and always have large sums of cash on them, but when he asks for change, no one ever has any–including myself. The locals don’t give him any change either. Apparently, no one carries change anymore. Everyone is just like him: broke.

I asked some of the guys on the corner why the one-legged man pushes his wheelchair backwards, but they don’t know, or care. They’d rather just post photos of the man on Instagram with dark, edgy filters and emojis that signify nothing but their desire for attention from people they’ve never met, nor ever plan on meeting. I’m no better, but I do actually feel bad; not bad enough to give him money, but bad enough to wonder why he does what he does instead of doing what he ought to be doing, like getting a job or something.

 

“Dees fuckin’ people, man. Day in an day out, I bussin my ass out here in the cold, yaknowhatimean, and noone’s got no fitty cent, but dey got enough dough for hotels and ressuraunts and random-ass bullshit for der stuck up kids, yaknowhatimsayin’, and dey neva worked no day in their life, but them parents’ just keep spoon-feedin’ them and givin’em everythang dey want and when I come by askin’ fo fitty cent, dey laugh like I ain’t human or summtin, but I am and juss cause I ain’t got no fancy clothes or a roof ova mah head don’t mean I ain’t got no feelin’s, knowhatimean, like, dees kids are real igorant, man, youknow, like, I sit here tryin’ to tell’em like it is on da streets so, like they get scared straight, right, and like, go out and get jobsanshit so they don’t be endin’ up like me and I’m figurin’ like, they’d give me fitty cent for what I’m tellin’em, but they’d ratha laugh, yaknowhatimean? They don’t know the value of what they got, but once they on their own, they’ll be juss like me, and I’ll prolly still be here, pushin’ this damned wheel-chair backwads ’cause one’a my hands is gone too and I can only push wit my one foot, yaknowhatimsayin’?”

 

“What the fuck’s he rambling about?”

“Leave him alone,” I said to my brother, who was still confused and frightened about the one-legged man.

“But what’s his problem?”

“He doesn’t got a problem,” I responded almost angrily. “We’re the one’s with the problem. We could do something to help him–”

“Then why didn’t you give him money before. You can catch up to him, you know,” my brother suggested sincerely, like he was actually catching on to what I was worried about.

“Well, I don’t know. I never really give them money because I feel they should work, you know? Go out and get a job instead of begging. Show some dignity, you know? This is America, like, the land of opportunity, you know?”

“But, didn’t you just–”

“Yeah, but Dad always tells us not to give them money, because they spend it on drugs and alcohol. I don’t want to fuel their addiction,” I explained to my brother, relieved at the fact that I came up with a pretty believable excuse to not follow through.

Imagine if I actually gave him money? What if someone saw?