the shape of the earth
Each evening, Dan and I take Highway 20 north out of town, past the last of the restaurants and dry cleaners and gas stations, around the bend where Mount Erie briefly shows its antennaed head, past the meadow, over the hill with evergreens to the east, and then the whole landscape opens up to a plain. On the west side of the highway spread fields, fertile with strawberries and the earliest of the raspberries. Near the highway sits a broad, low building where Dugualla Bay Farms sells its produce. To the east, a herd of cattle grazes, and beyond that Dugualla Bay stretches until it becomes the hazy far shore.
If we’re lucky, there are no clouds to obscure and the whole vision is struck by the setting sun, its long warm rays setting the field afire, turning each of the cattle copper or bronze, pressing farther east to clear the haze and strike Baker white-gold above the clouds.
We turn east from the 20 onto Frostad, which threads between white farmhouses, lit up like miniature mountains against Baker. Everything darkens momentarily as the trees cluster and we turn north.
But then, the scene bursts wide again. To the west, beyond the dark specks of cattle, beyond the farm with its unseen berries, jets swoop down to the landing strip. Eastward, if it’s high tide, the bay feels full and satisfied, and the water holds barely still to glint with sunlight.
If the tide is out, then the sand is mucky and patchy green and a channel winds from the road to the water, exposing the curves of the seabed. High tide is cleaner and prettier, but low tide lets us in on the secret shape of the earth.
To me, these photographs feel warm and fill me with fondness for this place. But I worry that, rather than being shot through with magic light, they’ve turned out flat and too composed.
I hope a robust sun inhabits your imaginations so that you can know what we see.