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Driftwood at Gate 35 in New Salem

Gate 35 is one of the Quabbin Reservoir’s most interesting and in some ways spiritual walks.  Although we saw several other hikers this past week when visiting, we still felt very much out of civilization after walking less than a mile to the Reservoir itself.  Once again, we find that the water is quite low.

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The beach that you see here is normally not a beach.  We could almost walk around from the left fork (where the old Rabbit Railroad ran) to the right fork, old State Route 21’s descending into the water. Water this low, however, sometimes brings with it one of the inanimate world’s most expressive gestures, driftwood.  It is scared along the shore, and it has moved since the last time we were able to spend some time here last year.  We did see moose tracks, but somehow I don’t think the moose were involved.

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The driftwood seems to want to offer up a story from its own history.

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But of course, we can only guess.

Just as a reminder, my exhibition, Quabbin Memories, Boston’s Water, is continuing at the Jewish Community Center of Worcester for those interested.  There will be a formal opening on Sunday, May 5 from 3 – 5 PM.  Thanks.

 

Quabbin Memories, Boston’s Water: A New Exhibition

It has certainly been a difficult week in these parts and our hearts go out to everyone effected by the sad events at the Boston Marathon and our thanks go out to everyone trying so hard to keep us safe. The work of art seems to pale in comparison to the importance of such events, but the work does go on.  April can be a difficult month, and it certainly was 75 years ago for those who lived in the four towns that were taken to create the Quabbin Reservoir:  Enfield, Prescott, Greenwich and Dana.  On April 28, 1938 the towns were unincorporated by an act of the Legislature.  The process of putting people off the land had already begun well before that date, and it was to continue until what we now know of as the Quabbin was finished.  As anyone who follows this blog is aware, the creation of the Reservoir resulted in an accidental wilderness where a most critical resource, water, exists side by side with forest, wildlife, history and memories.  We’ve been blessed with the chance to visit the Quabbin and surrounding areas many times over the past six years and I’m happy to say that an exhibition of that work has just today gone on display at the Gallery at the Jewish Community Center in Worcester.

The pieces in the exhibition are not meant to document the Quabbin.  Others have done that so much better.  It is rather a collection of artist images inspired by the experience of being in that special place where nature and engineering, past and present, coexist.  As always though, I do have one more practical agenda:  to remind people that precious natural resources like water don’t come easy or cheap.  Those put off the land sacrificed their homes so that much of the eastern portion of Massachusetts would have plentiful naturally filtered water.  It is important to remember that billions of our fellow residents of planet Earth aren’t so lucky.  We owe then a debt of gratitude to those who made that sacrifice and this exhibition is meant to honor them.

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There are a number of new infrared captures represented in the collection as well as more traditional (we’re now saying that regular digital is traditional I guess) images.

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If you are interested, please stop by for a visit.  The exhibition is open as of today and will run through June.  The formal opening will take place on Sunday, May 5th, from 3 – 5 PM

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Those not familiar with the Jewish Community Center should be aware that it is very welcoming to people of all faiths.  It’s a large, wonderful community institution that plays an important role in the cultural and social life of central Massachusetts and I’m honored to have been offered a chance to present my work there.  I want to thank Nancy Greenberg from the JCC for making the exhibition possible and I also want to thank Ron Rosenstock who really suggested we give this a try.  Ron is one of New England’s (and beyond really) best nature photographers.  You can see more about his work here.  Last year Ron had a significant run at the Worcester Art Museum.  He is the only photographer I’ve ever personally know who had an advertisement, about him, placed as a bill board in a a major city.  He’s also one of the nicest guys you’ll ever meet should you get the chance.  Thank you Ron and Nancy!  Let’s all hope for a better week!

 

 

The Tree the Apple Didn’t Fall Far From (If you follow)

I’ve been once again off the grid, preparing for an upcoming exhibition of Quabbin related work that will be opening shortly.  I’ll be posting more information in the next day or two.  Meanwhile, I had time for one small and for me somewhat different effort:  the photography of a single tree/icon. Here’s the story.

Roger Babson was an interesting gentleman.  He was the founder of my employer, Babson College, so I have a bias toward him from the get go.  One of his many interesting, shall we say interests, was in Sir Isaac Newton.  Passion would not be too strong a word, in fact, it may not be strong enough.  He was particularly impressed by Newton’s Third Law of Motion:  For every action there is an equal and opposition reaction.  The Third Law applies in a vacuum it should be said.  (Doesn’t that remind you a bit of modern day politics?  But I digress.)  He actually did predict the Great Depression, utilizing insights gleaned from the Third Law.  (And to his credit, I don’t believe he predicted any other depressions, so he had an excellent batting average.)  Not far from my office in Tomasso Hall you can find a carefully tended tree that in fact is a descendent of the apple tree in Newton’s garden. Alas, it is now quite old and dying if not dead.  Fruit trees don’t live forever and this one has outlived it’s normal life span, probably because it has been so carefully nurtured.  The tree has had many fans, including myself.  It’s presence has provoked contemplation and reverie in a context that is too frequently overpowering.  It will be missed. However, I’m pleased to say that Babson recognizes the value of legacy and history and, some time ago a program was put in place to assure that the future descendents of the tree will have a good home.  The celebration of the creation of a new grove of Newton Apple Trees will take place this coming Friday for anyone interested.  You can read about it here .  It is taking place as part of Babson’s observance of Earth Month.

So here’s to the future Sir Isaac.  We appreciate having you and your trees along for the journey.

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This image was taken as a gift for our soon to be retiring President, Len Schlesinger.  Len has done a fine job in his six years at Babson, and he will be missed.  Tech:  The image was captured on an IR converted Nikon D700.