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Dunga Brook Diary
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Float Mounted, Ready To Hang
Art comes into being in that abstract interval between a thought and reality, and no one – not even the artist who created it – can remeasure the influences that caused it.” (Edgar A. Payne)
“One of my mentors, Miss Pamela des Barres, imagines that if my images were music they would sound like Beethoven, Sinatra and the Beatles combined. I’ll take that.
It is my intent to deify and illuminates the ordinary and my desire is that you might find the beautiful in the ordinary, too.
Each photo is imbued with the mystery of love at first sight, infused with my present and my past and my daily rebirth into a new freedom, a swan dive, if you will, into the deep end of the pool, lit by color, texture, and emotion.”
If you are interested in being a collector, thank YOU!
There are 5 in a series, some near sold-out, email a description of your selection.
Credit cards/Paypal, shipping- West Coast $15, East Coast $10
I love old barns, each one a snowflake and their elegant dissolve, slow motion as it is, is a thing of beauty to behold.
County Highway 19 and a tiny slap of Bukowski…plus Dunga Brook Diary in which I confess my Dream of being an iphone Ansel Adams…
“I loved you like a man loves a woman he never touches, only writes to, keeps little photographs of.” ~Charles Bukowski, Love is a Dog from Hell
Dunga Brook Diary, looking back, spring/summer 2011…
I bought a farmhouse that I found on Facebook.
I bought a farmhouse that I found on Facebook named Dunga Brook, the original homestead of a 2,000 acre dairy farm built in the 1820’s.
I bought a farmhouse with an acre of land, in a place I had never heard of, for $10,000, because of a post on Facebook.
Why did I do this? Because , because, because, because, because…
Because, I was on Facebook. Because back then I had that much money in the bank. Because I was without ties, because I was over my career in fashion, because I had a number one and only son who was going off to college in August, because if I didn’t do something drastic I would lose my mind when he left, because I had 25 years in LA under my belt (because 25 of those years had been spent wishing I was somewhere small town USA else), because, basically, I had to.
I wrote a poem once with the line, “the tragic leap is the only dance-step I know…”. Melodramatic, yes, but what I meant was, I don’t do things in half-measures. All in or all out.
My moves aren’t predicated on logic, wisdom, reality, time and space continuums, obligations, duty, society…when the voice inside my head says, “its time,” I dance.
So, when Tim Giblin, a man I barely new from an LA poetry class, posted a picture of a farmhouse on Facebook somewhere in New York on an April morning in 2011, I bought it.
Dunga Brook was for sale by owner and Tim, who lived next door, wanted someone he knew to be his new neighbor.
Turns out, you want to like your neighbors in the middle of nowhere.
I don’t think I was what he had in mind but if he was disappointed, he never let on.
That summer, my son and I had to live in a campground while Dunga Brook was being renovated. God knows we couldn’t live in her, she had been torn down by the elements (rain, snow, rain, snow, wind, rain, snow) and had been sorely mistreated by the last tenants who were, literally, squatters.
The squatters had destroyed a few of the things that the elements hadn’t yet (like the stairs to the second floor and the electrical panel in the stone basement) as a good ole country FU and goodbye.
Seems, the owner of the house had called the squatter’s closest relative, an uncle who once rented the house, and told him to deliver this message…”get out or we’ll burn the house down with you in it.” They did get out.
The KOA campground was the only place left for long-term rental that summer. I had no idea when I bought Dunga Brook that she was in the middle of the Cooperstown Dreams Park baseball summer mania.
Turns out that this little nowhere land turns into baseball central all summer long- there are baseball parks, baseball memorabilia shops, The Baseball Museum, baseball Hall of Famers are inducted out here, and the families of all the little baseballers from all over the world rent every little home and hotel room there is to be found while they pursue their mini major league Dreams in that Park.
So, into the last rental camper trailer at the KOA we went. Which thrilled my soon to be off to college son, Connor, to no end. His Dream had always been to live in a trailer.
That trailer magically led to a reconnection to my Dream. I practically grew up in a camper. My dad dragged us to every campground in the state of Florida and up the coast to Maine in back when I was a child. Camping is in my bones, my heart and my soul.
What camping meant to a shy little girl was hours and hours of roam time, commune time, Dream time with all the little creatures and plants and water bodies of the earth.
And here I was, iphone in hand, lucid dreaming in a land of such staggering beauty that I couldn’t understand what the big deal was with all that migration west . Who could leave this place?
Thanks to that migration, CNY – as compared to LA – was essentially empty, save the baseballers and their families crowded into Cooperstown Dreams Park.
Suddenly, I understood what I was meant to do with that iPhone in my hand. Take pictures. Take a million bazillion gazillion pictures of my Dream. Lay down in the grass with my face in the dirt and breathe. Look up to the sky at the clouds marching by and breathe. click. click. click.
Suffice it to say, I took over 20,000 iPhone pictures that summer while I waited for that house to be rebuilt and not one human besides my son and my shadow got in the way of a sunset, a sunrise, a crystal clear lake, a wild flower, a you name it.
By fall, I had carpal tunnel. Turns out you can’t just take 20,000 iPhone pictures, edit them and upload them to Facebook, regale everyone with the beauty you have found, the Dream you have landed in the middle of, without paying a price.
I would lie in bed at night, my right arm in the air and cry, it hurt so bad. I googled iPhone and carpal tunnel and ah ha, yes, of course.
Luckily for me, there are a lot of great people up here, that is the yummy little secret of this place.
Yes, it is in the middle of nowhere, NYC is 4 hours away, Boston, the same, the nearest Starbucks is 90 miles away (this is how a LA person views the world)…but the people who live up here are amazing, educated, brilliant, fun, artistic, earthy, gorgeous, adventurous, and exactly what I wasn’t expecting to find.
Somehow, between taking a picture of everything that did and didn’t move, I met all of them.
My carpal tunnel was cured by one of the best massage therapists I have ever met who also, to my great delight, somehow ended here. Cheryl Rosen of The Spring House Spa in Sharon Springs saved my life. Well, my arm. And a lot of sleepless nights.
This April, 6th, 2013, I have a *photography show at the Cherry Branch Gallery, two years from the day that Tim Giblin posted a picture of a little broken farmhouse named Dunga Brook on Facebook.
*Vicki Whicker shoots all her photos with an iPhone, edits them in iphoto and pic monkey and Dreams of being an iPhone Ansel Adams.
Dunga Brook Diary, remembering July, 2011.
Leaving LA, after 25 years, felt like the right thing to do. LA was a pit stop, a very complicated, very expensive pit stop on my journey through life.
On the road from LA to NY, I followed my son in his truck and took iPhone pictures through my truck’s windshield. Mostly of his tail lights. I admired his ability to drive away from the only life he’d ever known, his childhood friends, the dry heat and the desert he loved, all in the support of my new gold dream.
I’m an old hand at leaving. The first time was traumatic, my dad was transferred from Florida to Illinois in January and I went from a Gilligan’s Island type paradise to some sort of snowy 70’s version of Petticoat Junction. Sans the pretty girls and fun. I spent years plotting my way out, first as a long haul truck driver, which I realized later was the desire to run, be powerful, in charge of my own destiny. I toyed, during a brief summer romance, with the idea of leaving as someone’s wife, the wife of a football coach who transferred from campus to campus in search of that ultimate winning team. But hooking on to someone else’s dream is just not my thing. No matter how handsome the dreamer.
The summer after college, I ended up taking my mom’s powder blue International Scout and moving to a Colorado ski resort for seasonal work. Five super saturated 80’s years as a “ski bunny” in Vail was my max. When a friend moved to LA, I thought, why not try a big city, see what you can do as a small fish in a big pond?
But this cross-country move was different, I was uprooting someone else’s life. Connor was off to college in the fall and somehow I’d justified it in my mind that moving the day after he graduated would be the best timing for both of us.
I didn’t cry during our going away party, packed as it was with every fun friend I’d made from all my varied walks of life in the big city, but he did, tipsy on absconded beer he communed with his Cali best buds while the band played and we danced. I didn’t cry as we packed, when we drove away. The hours and the miles ticked by.
Across the plains, the skies were a cathedral of thunderheads, rainbows that went straight up and down, lightning that streaked sideways. It was majestic, this threat of weather related annihilation. Nothing happened for hours, aside of the light show and darker skies. Finally, the great release as the rain came.
I cried then, my wet eyes on his quivering red tail lights, the distance vast between us.
Dunga Brook Diary~
When I lived in LA, I didn’t have the serenity to slow down. A dog was something to let out in the morning and lock in the house all day.
Tonight, the sky is clear and full of stars. It’s 13 degrees.
I walk with the dogs in the deep fresh snow. In the dark my house seems framed by the milky way, the warm light pouring out onto the snow from the windows doesn’t dim the glow.
Looking up, I see the darker reaches of the universe and I realize that when we die, that’s where we’ll go.
Not bad, I think as I call the dogs back and go inside.