Spring Break: March Wafts Off on the Gentle Breath of a Lamb

Spring Break: March Wafts Off on the Gentle Breath of a Lamb
Georgia O'Keefe, Ghost Ranch, New Mexico, 1968. Photograph by Arnold Newman

Springtime has broken at last. March making her exit gently, like the lamb promised by the lion at her start. Spring Break. Inspired by Lake Michigan’s dissolving ice floes, it’s been a week of acceptance and release.

During the break, I managed a small dance atop frozen drifts in Wisconsin’s northern woodlands – with the dog as my co-pilot. I made a stop at the local bait shop, learned a little more about nighttime prayers at the foot of my parents’ beds, and strolled along with loved ones in the Midwestern sun at a Lake County Preserve.

There’s an Arnold Newman photo show at the Lake County Museum. “Arnold Newman: Luminaries of the Twentieth Century in Art, Politics and Culture”. The sign at the gate displays a photo he made of painter Georgia O’Keefe at her “Ghost Ranch” in New Mexico. O’Keeffe sits in profile before a blank canvas framed by clear desert sky; sharp sunlight highlighting the creases in her wise face. The canvas is crowned by one of the animal skulls that so fascinated her. She appears self-possessed and contained within these elements that defined her.

Later, inspired by a friend, I came across this quote by O’Keeffe: “Nobody sees a flower really; it is so small. We haven’t time, and to see takes time – like to have a friend takes time.”

Taking time to see, observe, absorb. I return to the obsessions I seek to train into my students. The habits of observation. Using our eyes and the camera as research for our own vision. Stopping to look and to see. Absorbing it, slowly, over time.

This is an acquired skill, as O’Keefe notes. Even perhaps more so in a world where our brains are being rewired and Attention Deficit Disorder seems truly to be not so much a disorder as a way of life. And a global movement like ‘slow food‘ attempts to bring us closer to community and responsibility for the basic elements of our existence.

During the break I spent a little time with movement.

Below is a selection of my explorations: a gallery of slow looking. Subtle movements. The break of spring-time’s pleasures. Enjoy.

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