Celebration of Simplicity

Written this morning to a friend – on another rain day – while countless thousands of drops fell and puddled over breakfast.

There is something about the rain that makes it easy to prattle to you, something about the steady, falling drips that lead me to stillness and contemplation – a pause from a quiet breakfast of coffee, grapefruit, and toast with cream cheese.

They are simple things – these splats on windows and milk in coffee and sweet, pink sections on a shiny teaspoon – but I realize more and more and more and MORE that they are what life is about. So small, so inexpensive, so unimportant; yet they mean everything to me, are so big, are so rich, are so significant.

Simplicity is key in living a happy life, I’m sure of it. It is beautiful and efficient and challenging and delightful, but so hard to accomplish. And there are a great many glittering distractions, and time-wasters, and hole-fillers that still leave you empty.

I hope that if – on a fantastical, wild off-chance – I come into extravagant hordes of money, I will give much of it away, save some of it, and spend the rest on the dear, simple things that are solid, timeless, and that burrow deep: guitar melodies, matches for campfires, knitted sweaters, ripe avocados for guacamole to feed friends below high rooftops, gas for trips to mountains and lakes, and – one day – a stretch of openness to put a house and make a home, small in size but huge in heart.

I love each of you and I’ll love you always.

Ever all of yours,
Coon

(Photos from the last couple weeks of vast and intimate gatherings, riddled with change).

 

All the Beautiful Buffalos

It is no great secret that I am a lover of many beautiful souls.

People often peg me as a giver – calling me too many nice things, like kind, or generous, and open with myself and my things and my dogs and my kitchen – and it could be true, but if it is so, it is all in selfishness! . . . My large heart is wide and insatiable, and it is only in the company of these souls with their bodies kissing my self and using my things and chasing my dogs and standing in my kitchen with wine and laughter that I feel content in this big, small world that I occupy with all the rest. I will give you whatever you want, my darlings, I will try to be kind and generous and open, only let me look at your faces and hear your voices and sniff your scalps and kiss your necks and cook for yins.

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Chris Faroe – my burly, curly, bus-playing, guitar-driving, bread-finding, coffee-giving, dog-walking, tea-drinking, rice-eating friend who has two green pairs of shoes – is one of the beautiful souls. He is shockingly creative, decisively determined, and is the gentlest giant I’ve ever met. He is a musician, and a wonderful one, and believes in a world of shared arts and passions. He is in love with my dog Boon (and also a lovely human named Kathy), and Boon is also in love with him, and the man has more than once described the dog’s scrawny, brindled frame as a “wonderland.”

Chris is often guilty of complimenting me when he should only be receiving compliments. For instance, a month ago in April, I was one of the lucky hundred to attend the release of his lovely and latest album “Buffalo Buffalo Buffalo Buffalo Buffalo Buffalo Buffalo Buffalo”.

Yes, that’s eight buffalos; look it up – it’s a legit sentence.

The release show was held at the Brooklyn Society for Ethical Culture on a rainy spring night, and everyone packed together in the darkness, littered over chairs and floor, among candles and stained glass, hearts warm, breath warmer, fingers sticky from baklava made by mothers in-the-know. Chris played his whole new album, a few old things, and also invited other beautiful souls – The Sneaky Mister, Ladder to the Moon, and Plume Giant – to play with him for us.

It was stellar and every good thing. Time and time again while he played and sang, I smiled to myself – proud that I know him, proud of who he is, and so happy that he rolled like a tumbleweed through the desert to my trailer a year ago to sleep on my futon.

Chris, baby, your towel is in the closet. Your beet scraps are in the fridge. I love you. The pups do, too.

Be well.

- Sarah

For a treat, visit Chris’ website, Facebook, band page, or bus, which is often found in Red Hook near the water. 

From the Road, 10/4-8

Months ago, at the beginning of October, I headed south from San Fidel to Tucson to shoot Holly’s wedding. Along the way, I thought about moving to New York City, listened to music made by my beautiful friends, kept my token journal notes, and scribbled into my red book with steering wheel for a desk.

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(10/4/12)

10:29a – Into Arizona now, heading south on AZ-191. There is no daylight savings time here; they are always fallen back. I am a supporter of this; I like it. I like my mornings bright and my evenings dark, and I like my roads open and my views wild and my friends close.

10:42a – Will I ever be able to contain, explain, or contemplate the magnitude of how much I love driving?

1:04p – Up and down on the passes of 60W through the canyon’s hills and mesas before Show Low and Globe, my ears are popping randomly with staccato beats like the last-to-burst kernels of corn when the pot of popcorn on the stove is done and already full.

1:47p – There are only a few things that cut to the quick of me and elicit a gasp in as deep a way as the flash of gold, growing wildflowers among darker ombres.

The way radiating cirrus clouds reverberate about the crest of a steep peak above me makes it seem as if a giant stationary wave is pushing all sound and matter along.

2:38p – Into the land of agave, prickly pear, ocotillo, and saguaro – the majestics and eccentrics and thorny dwellers that populate this part of the desert world. Everything here is designed to put holes in you and thieve the wet life within you.

3:12p – A red-tailed hawk soaring steadily out my window – motionless except for the movement of air moving him – only flapped his wings in greeting after I waved my arm at him.

(10/5/12)

At the hotel, there is some sort of hearing-imparied or American Sign Language convention. And it is so interesting to walk through a silent crowd of people and know that the flurry of hands and gestures and movements is a flurry of animated conversation that you can’t hear – that no one can.

11:47a – Made the difficult decision to not go out to saguaro or another park to take pictures and instead decided to bake in the sun by the pool. There is not a drop of suntan lotion to be found, but there are palm trees and occasional breezes and conversations, always a plus.

1:30p – You know you’ve been lying still on the bleached, cracking strips of old lounge chairs for quite a long time when you open your eyes to find vultures circling you in lower and lower circles. There is another red-tailed hawk, and he soars and swoops so high that his diving towards you brings him from a black speck to a dark slash in the blue.

(10/6/12)

11:00a – The ants here are so gentle and tiny that you don’t know they are all over your toes until an accidental glance down gives them away. In contrast, there are still itching, itchy wounds on my ankle and shin left from the fire ant that hitchhiked up my pant leg over a week ago to munch my flesh – his final snack – before I gasped in burning pain and smash-slapped up and down my pant leg to stop his searing nibbles.

(10/7/12)

Leaving Tuscon, getting gas, gave a crying woman in a pink flowing dress and red backpack my last dollars for the bus. Wondered: why is life so hard?

10:16a – There is something so sweet about experiencing a place or person when you know you will not be seeing, loving, or experiencing them for a long while. You live in that moment how we should live at all moments, in the utter present, fully. 

11:19a – I love seeing a supple, single-spined saguaro standing near an elder with a dozen arms or more, the young adolescent learning to grow and be strong from the oldest grandfather, greying brown and decaying though his flesh may be. 

An upside to being drunk on lack of sleep and dry desert air: the gravelly tenor voice that comes with exhaustion and dehydration that means singing a man’s song in the car is a literally deeper and more satisfying duet. 

5:29p – New Mexico is absolutely my favorite place, my heart’s home. One day, I will buy miles worth of land that is soaked in golden light, burnished with copper roads, and grounded with the deepest grey-green. It will be wide open to the sky, and I will plant and grow things there – myself, a garden, children, a life.

This was the last trip of skies and leaves and desert autumn before I moved east, and these pictures are so sweet to me now.

Be well, loves.

- Coon

 

 

 

HB + ER

Holly Brown and I made friends in college. We became fast friends, however, by making cynical quips back and forth during our time as editors for The Juniatian, our newspaper. I don’t remember anymore any of the copy we edited or many of the many articles we wrote, but thinking about all those hours gives me a warm, giggling feeling – hysterical and exasperated, pressed by deadlines – yet warm and yellow and fun.

She is one of those people who can – with the absolute driest expression – bring a room full of other people to tears for laughing.

She is exquisite!

And lucky for her, she moved to Tucson and found the perfectly funny dude to suit her; and lucky for him, she said yes; and lucky for me, I got to photograph them both last October when they got straight hitched!

HB, you are magnanimous and patient, a saint, and wickedly amusing. You deserve the best!

You are the best!

Congratulations from the future.

Love, Sarah Wharton

Interim

I start an internship soon with Steve McCurry’s studio in Long Island City. It will be three months of full-time go go go between commuting and photos and trying to stay afloat above city sidewalks and bobbing passerby, but I am excited.

In the interim – just like everyone else in the city sea – I keep busy with too many photos to edit, late dinners, dog duty, transferring my life from one new place to another newer one, forgetting to over-water the plants, making phone calls, baking brownies, and trying to keep the apartment clean (I’ve traded thick dust and dog hair for grey grime and dog hair).

There are people everywhere, and I am one of them. We throng!

Throng strong, babies. Upwards and onwards.

Be well.

- SAWK

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