And then.....

Wednesday, September 27, 2006


Ariel came over Sunday wanting a headshot for an ad for her business. She wants to use it in a working women's feature in our local paper. While she was here, I roped her in as more talent as I cram to master shooting on seamless without studio equipment ( leaving Friday for work on two projects in CA, the latter will be, in part, on seamless). Ken, my friend and photographic savior, assures me that between what I do and what he does - the printing - it is going to work. Stay tuned!

Monday, September 25, 2006

The Pithy Pit

Just as I had a notion that, once I became an elder, the young would gather at my feet to learn from my wisdom, I had a similar notion that, once we built a firepit, friends and family would gather round it drinking wine and roasting things on sticks. The fire pit is now 3 summers old and has been used once. I have no more idea why this is than I do about the lack of young seeking my pithy gems. Even at Jolie and Owain's beautiful wedding and despite the wood being laid, we forgot to light the it.
Last night we changed all of that. Last night we gathered around the pit and, even though there were no family and friends to join us, we lit the fire, roasted things on sticks and drank wine. The latter element probably caused us to articulate some damn good wisdom too. The young, of course, missed out yet again.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Saturday in the Park with Tom

We went up to the park yesterday. It was a day that demanded it. While the aspen leaves had not fully turned there were plenty of patches of color that drew focus. The recent snow storm left the mountains full of snow and, with the brilliant cloudless sky, gave meaning to the now hackneyed word awesome.
In addition to walking some trail or other, one of our favorite things to do is have lunch at Jenny Lake Lodge, a marvelous lodge with cabins that was once the Danny Ranch. On this visit, because we had the point and shoot, we played tourist ( for you) and had the waiter take our picture.
The above shot is from the porch of the lodge. Not a bad front yard.

The top shot is The Grand Teton. The french trappers coming to the valley from the western side of the range could see only the very top of the three highest peaks of the range. Clearly a tad randy, too long on the prairie without a femme - mon dieu, pierre, what do those look like to you?- they named them Les Trois Tetons, the three breasts.

Friday, September 22, 2006

A Change of Scenery

Yesterday, around 2 pm, Tom spotted above moose scene in the front yard. It is rare to see a bull, cow and young all together. Rut is the reason. Mom and the twins hung around all day only a few yards from the front door. I am fairly certain the bull was not far beyond. I imagine her saying: for godsake man my hooves are full with the kids. Indeed, she appeared to be feigning a headache.

This morning at 7 am the world looked entirely different.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Our Families, Our Futures

The young woman in the first and second picture is to be married to the young man with her this week. The third, while blonde, is not the same person - very pretty, isn't she? - and deservedly proud of her place in the day.
see text below for more information about the day, the organization

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Our Families, Our Futures

On Saturday I attended a graduation for seven young women who have successfully finished a program offered by a state affiliated organization called Our Families, Our Futures.
This organization is devoted to saving - there is no better word - the lives of young women and, hence, their families selected because of their situation of extreme poverty, personal crisis, combined with the will to change. The stories these graduates told were astounding - most with drug addiction, some with abuse, all hopelessly poor and struggling to survive and all with an intense detirmination to alter the course for the good of their children.
As I understand it the program is rigorous and includes, along with addiction rehab, psychological therapy - individual and group - training in skills for work in a field they are drawn to, training in the interview process and all that might be involved in securing and maintaining a job and, finally, job placement.
There were former graduates in the small audience cheering and applauding, laughing and crying.
All in all, my eyes were open to what it took to be there, what it will take to stay on the path of health and success. I have every hope and quite a bit of confidence that these young mothers will continue to move on through the hardships life deals. Afterall they have come a difficult distance.
I was struck by the impact their children had on their motivation. I find myself thinking that, while the life of a child is a heavy responsibility to bear, perhaps it is this burden that will save these women. Perhaps not having the weight of caring for another, particularly a child, even in the worst trials, is actually harder.

The first picture here is of a mother and her son. The mother's story was particularly impressive. In the 2nd picture they are surrounded by staff and supporters.
I will post other pictures from Our Families, Our Futures tomorrow.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Therapeutic Riding Association

I watched a class at the Therapeutic Riding Association last week. As an organization that offers riding classes to physically challenged children and adults, the work it does is deeply moving. We had gone there for an open house that was designed to raise awareness and funds. As such, the open house appeared not to be a success as there were only a few people there. I must say, however, that my own awareness was certainly raised as was my intention to help them with funding.

As I quietly disappeared into my camera I overheard, not only the the gentle, joyful, encouraging, affirming voices of the instructors - always three per rider - but also the most touching testimonies of people in casual conversation. Parents were talking aoout the significance of the riding in their children's lives, volunteers and guests were talking about specific incidents or specific riders and how well they had progressed. There was an elderly man sitting alone next to the arena who was telling anyone who would listen to him stories of his involvement with one of the kids.

I found myself seriously worked up over the poor funding and lack of awareness about this association. What an amazing, life- altering effort! I was stunned to learn that they have a long waiting list that they cannot accommodate and floored to learn that they can operate only during the summer because they don't have a place to keep the horses.

If I had sound to go with the picture above, you would hear the thin crowd gathered cheering madly for the young rider.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

It has begun.

Regular nighttime temps in the 20s now, snow on the mountain ( see mountain cam for the top of Rendezvous Mt.) and slush predicted in the valley today. Every year we attempt to stall off the end of our flowers by covering them at night. Every year we do this for about 5 days and then give up.
Yesterday as Tom is adjusting the covering on one end of a long role of white garden cloth, the squirrel is pulling it down from the other. What man attempts to join together, a squirrel will surely tear asunder.

Friday, September 15, 2006


Irving, Blanca and Graco's * oldest child, is 16. I have known him since he was 11. When I met him he had, only the day before, arrived in Jackson. Both Irving and his sister, Montserat, had lived with his grandmother in Mexico until the time was right for them to come to the states. Although the journey here was harrowing and although he could speak no English, Irving started his new life with eagerness and curiousity. I remember going to lunch with Blanca and the kids that first day. Irving wanted to know about everything on the menu and why it was called what it was called.
Now, at 16, that same curiousity is amplified. He produced a fine student film last spring that was shown at the Jackson Hole Film Festival . Now he is contemplating the next one. He was in a camp rodeo this summer. I didn't see this but am told he was a bull rider! He is a student at Journeys School and just returned yesterday from the upper school back pack trip into the park. Irving is a bright kid who, I predict, will illuminate - more and more - every place and situation that he is in.

* apologies that you have not met Graco. he is a very handsome fellow and i have not yet taken a picture of him that pleases me.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Jay and The American Gothics

Experimenting with shooting on seamless. Jay was here helping me with some computer stuff, Jeannie here cleaning ( and ecstatic over the new vacuum) and Tom was walking through the garage on the way to his car ( which had been moved outside so I could play photographer ) so they were pulled in to be talent. Jay, I must say, was rather typical of expensive talent, demanding Evian with Evian ice cubes.
Clearly have some more to learn about seamless so you can expect some more of this goofiness.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

A hike up Teewinot

Joined friends, all in their sixties, yesterday for a hike up Teewinot.
Pictured above, along with a woman who I'd not met before, are a retired biologist who is now passionate about msking art, a successful realtor with a passion for Africa and the lions, a board member of The National Parks Association and an Episcopal priest with a published novel. All are avid hikers and most take a daily walk with significant elevation gain. This, however, is not outstanding here in Jackson. The recent claim that sixty is the new 50 is not exactly new information for my friends.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006


My friend, my very good friend, Blanca.
I have known Blanca for five years. She helped me with my first project, Some of Us, Algunos de Nosotros and is the veritable engine of the current project with the workng title: Why we are here.
At the moment, Blanca works cleaning house and caring for the children of the family and assisting in the management of a motel. She and her family live over the office of the motel. She will continue on at the motel but the other situation is about to change and she is researching the next step.
She also has vlounteered, over the years, for all sorts of endeavors that benefit the community.
Blanca's dream is to be a lawyer. For the moment, however, she is a working mom managing, along with Graco, her husband, multiple jobs and raising two beautiful, graceful, generous and creative children. I dont know how she handles all of this and continues to help me with this project but, in doing so, her example is the very definition of friendship. I am deeply grateful .

Monday, September 11, 2006

Farmer's Market

The last Farmer's Market of the season was also on Saturday.
The market consists of stalls on two sides of the town square Because it is our ONLY shot - out here on the prairie where the growing season is measured in weeks - at locally grown produce, it is a community magnet.
Understandably, it is a small market so it is important to be there when it begins at 8:30 if you want to walk away with what you went there for. If you don't manage to arrive by then you still have a fine time because, as beneficiary of small town life, you know a lot of people. It is a bit like a big roving produce party.
Along with the produce, baked goods, free coffee and samples of food, there is always music. The shot above is of members of the Jackson Hole Chorale. There has been every kind of music and group imaginable - even, once, a huge flugelhorn that you had to step over to make it around the corner.
We grieve that the market is over especially just when we learned how to make chard fries from the Zuni cookbook. The chard, incidentally, that we planted for a fall garden is an inch high indicating a fall garden ( our first ) is fool hearted. Clearly there is a reason for the final market being this week.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Old Bills Fun Run

In it's tenth year, Old Bill's Fun Run - held yesterday - is a huge and significant event here in Jackson. Hundreds of people od all ages ( see the pretty blonde mom with the 3 pretty blonde girls above), a few costumes ( see token Elvis above ) lots of dogs ( see the wienie in a bun with mustard dog above) and a tiny press corps ( see the Jesus above ) show up for what is mostly a big walk around town with a few competive jocks running in the lead.
It's purpose is to raise money for local non profits of which there are an impressive lot. This is a town that helps it's own.
Further, local philanthropists, one couple in particular, contribute hundreds of thousand dollars in a matching grant. I don't know what the town would do with old Old Bill's. I get a bit choked up at events like this. The town is so small and the heart so great and sincere.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

A Family of Friends

My friend, Gitta, considers the rat a major YUK so I promised to post something beautiful today.
I will be working on portraits of this family, all friends who I have known and loved for some years, this week. They are beautiful in every sense of the word.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Meet The Enemy

This critter, this muskrat, is one of a dynasty detirmined to literally under mine our terrace and the house beyond. This guy, along with the 10+ raccoons and 2 foxes who ate the baby duck eggs this year, the voles who have the same penchant for tunnels that the rats do and who toil away under the winter snow, the porcupine who circled and killed a fine large pine and the two beavers set on building a dam at the egress of the pond, a dam to be made up of aspens of every size from our yard,( they were trapped this morning) - these guys- are what make living on the prairie so engaging. There is no doubt their offspring and their offspring and their offspring will keep us alert for " as long as we both shall live".

We also have had a weasel who elegantly changes his color to white in the winter and becomes an ermine. There is a badger hole out by the bridge. We plant enough in our lettuce patch for the chislers and chipmonks to harvest as we do. This is the first year in 4 that we have not seen a bear or two although there are now bear aware signs on the nearby bike path. We are in the berry season so a visiting bear is not unlikely with hawthorne trees in the wetland. We share the land with the moose and deer. I have spotted a lynx.We have not seen any elk but they frequent the ranch just north of here. These are the animals with which we coexist. Between us there is no contention or quarrel. The rat above? Enemy NO 1!
You have, my friend, meet the enemy.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Le Grand Teton

Here is the view from our house as the days grow shorter. It seems summer ended entirely last Thurday night when the temps dipped to 23 over night. Of course, this is the talk of the town as if the abruptness doesn't occur every year. (A few years back Tom, Ariel and I made the return leg of a pack trip on Labor Day weekend in a snow storm.) The leaves are just now turning and in about 10 days we will yet again be surprised by their being in full color. The only season that isn't short here is winter. Winter in Jackson is very beautiful and very, very long and I promise to report on a good bit of it from the desert!

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

And Ariel adds....

Sitting on a huge hay bale ( your feet not even touching the ground), watching a storm move through The Tetons in the distance and seeing geese flying overhead while listening to Willie Nelson is pretty darn sweet. I wish I had caught his hat.

Big Night

Ariel was given two tickets to a private (!) concert by Willy Nelson cum barbecue and auction held last night. All of this was provided by one of her clients. Her dad was her date. She even came to pick him up. Here they are about to set forth.
It was a very big deal night with a number of celebs and, they were told, senators. Willy Nelson walked onto the constructed stage, gave a little wave to the audience, seated on hay bales, and just started singing. Mercifully the forecast rain held off and there was even a rainbow over the pot of gold kind of ranch at the time of the concert. Tom says: it turned out quite fine.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Naturalization Ceremony

I was priviledged, last week, to be invited to a naturalization ceremony at our tiny courthouse. This is the second such ceremony that I have attended and alos the second one to be held here in Jackson. There were 9 nations represented among those sworn in.
At the ceremony, I was forced to think of the desire and the effort involved in becoming an American citizen. There was, in the faces of those taking the oath, solemness and delight at the same time. Those gathered to watch, many standing on the sides and even out into the hall, seem to have the same emotions. It was moving.
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