A Dry White Season
It seems fitting somehow that this rather bleak image be born in winter, during holiday season, when everywhere I look is snow and cold and all is buried. We are all influenced by our surroundings, our environment, our experiences growing up in wherever we call home. To some, this time of year is joyous and warm, festive with holiday gatherings and sentiments. To others it can be rather isolating and barren. Certainly we have all heard the now almost cliche statistics about holidays being high time for suicides, but the reason for it is in the contrast of how that distraught person feels to the warmth and gatherings they see around them - suppose they have no one, suppose holidays marked some very dark episodes from the past that are dredged up every time this season comes around?
I can certainly relate to a point - the holidays have not been all that warmly remembered in my history book, but I have moved past grief or sorrow, I have now accepted this time of year as the psychological minefield it is, and I know more or less where to step to avoid detonating one. It is a season of required fortitude, a season of indifference, a season of a kind of emptying from within. Just like winter, it creeps in the same time every year, covers everything of warmth and vibrance with snow for a time, a frost - but not a lethal one. Things are dormant, things are in recovery mode, waiting for the season to pass. Nothing much can grow in this season; all resources are reserved for maintaining.That is the sense I have of winter, of the holidays, and it's no longer even sad or unfortunate, it is simply the feeling this particular wind brings.
If something scarring and terrible occurred in your lifetime every Sunday for several years, your mind, even your body would regard Sundays with anxiety, even years after those events ceased to occur. The day is loaded with memory, and that memory will linger on for all your Sundays to come. If a man is cruel to a puppy, that puppy invariably becomes a dog fearful of men, and it seems to be ingrained and indelible, no matter how much reassurance that animal receives in the future. We are no different. We retain the sensory experience. This field may be cleared of all mines, but having survived it as a minefield, it will always be with you and regarded as a minefield. These can be expressed poetically as ghosts or echoes, but they are with us regardless of what we call them.
My image is a personal one again, but a little more deeply personal this time. This field is a minefield - even if you do not see them, they are there. The remnants of fences, now broken and decayed, suggest something or someone once lived there. There is no rain, no moisture, no snow. All is dry. There is no color - that is for other seasons. There is not always a way to mend broken fences, and who would want to live in this desolate place, once a minefield, and always rife with memories of the little wars we waged here, the concealed incendiary devices of days best left forgotten?
I view the man depicted here as touring the scene of the old war, the internal war now - remembering the damage, perhaps come to gauge how much, if at all, it still affects him. He is alone here - no one else comes to mend the fences, and he did not come for that purpose either. To me he seems to be drifting into the past, not mournfully really, but perhaps even he is not sure why he came.
My title is the borrowed from a film by the same name - a film I have never seen, but ever since I heard of it I was in love with that title. It's funny how we interpret things based on our collective experiences - I saw this title implying the mood I described above - and the film has something to do with racism, I seem to recall.
model: Ed Barron