April 27, 2006

Snapshots From a Train

A white cow with sharp, in-curled horns
Lays in the grass
Next to a white egret
who is ankle deep in a small pond of water.

Long stalks of dry grasses bunched together
Stacked on their ends
Leaning inwards, forming small teepees
Under the sun.

A dozen railcars, cargo cars, stopped
On the nearby tracks
Chest high piles of broken coal beside them.
Young men, their skin and clothing black from the dust
Heap after heap
From one pile to another.
A grey cloud over their heads, the black dust everywhere
Inside and out.

Three small boys stand next to field of sugarcane.
They watch our train passing by.
They all have big smiles on their faces.
They are waving to everyone and no one.
But they are sincere and so I struggle
to quickly push my hand out the window,
hoping that just one of them sees
my hand waving back.

There is a white haze
maybe an early evening fog
that has settled over the fields.
Trees in the distance fade into silver and then into the color of the colorless sky.

Fields of bright yellow mustard swim in the wind
Pools in a vast sea of vibrant green grass.

Patties of cow dung and bits of broken straw
Pressed firm with the print of a woman’s hand.
Clusters under the sun
They blanket the ground, drying.
Some are balanced against each other, both standing on an edge,
hoping to catch a little more of the low sun.
Dry discs are neatly organized in ascending round piles.

Women carrying loads
Balanced atop their heads
In the fading light of a periwinkle sky.
A bundle of laundry
Branches for kindling or for some fence
A sheet wrapped sack
Full with green leaves for the animals.
Some carry clay pots of water from a nearby well.

Men on bicycles riding along a narrow
desolate road
On their ways to places I can not see on the horizon.

In looking through many images
And remembering ones I have made in the past
that I don’t seem to tire of,
I am seeing my own experiences of being here,
of traveling and existing.
And they are in the eyes, faces, and non-verbal gestures of the subjects
whom I find drawn to make photographs of.

I am seeing more clearly that I have been looking at pieces of myself, of my being, of my experience. Many of these images are the reflections of the glimpses I have had of my own looking-in and the struggles of my own existence here and at home – everywhere that is.

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