In Graceville Lived Angeline And Joe


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By Katherine Johnson

Senior Citizens Center – 418 Studdart Avenue – Graceville, MN 56240

In Graceville lived Angeline and Joe, good neighbors to the end,
Where long ago they met when full of Eden’s energy;
The winter dances and summer lakes with quiet kisses
Under the ancient oaks, seeded, from when the land was unplowed.

And Graceville became Fate’s due for Angeline and Joe,
Marriage and home, inescapable came, a rabbit snare;
While brothers and sisters, dandelion seeds, scattered,
Spread by imagination and prairie winds to universities and war.

There caught, Angeline and Joe lived, in fat times and lean,
Where they made, baptized, and raised their babies;
Grew a pension, tomatoes and summer squash
And accounted for them all in the fall.

Meanwhile the hedges at Graceville’s limit grew tall,
Obscuring memories of winter dances and summer lakes;
shoebox photos, stored under blankets, testified silently that
Love had become something more and something less.

Soon enough the winter’s snow faded into black earth furrowed,
And the oak leaves trembled and murmured the names of
Angeline’s and Joe’s children, fresh dandelion seeds,
Kidnapped away by the prairie wind and circumstances.

The pension grew ripe while the garden lay dead,
Life became silent dinners, television news at 5 and 10 pm,
Trips to the butcher for still warm polish sausages,
And disconcerting diagnoses that still could be ignored.

One day the prairie wind hammered Angeline and Joe to bits:
First child Robert blew his head off in a hotel room with a shotgun,
Margaret came home exhausted by alcoholism, divorce and children,
While Pamela, only came home to bury the dead and an occasional Fourth of July.

The day Joe died of cancer, he cried fear and begged to live,
While Angeline just cried tears and wandered in and out the hospital room;
Months later, Angeline found comfort in her good neighbors,
And during lively dinners at the Graceville Senior Center.

Copyright 2016 – Katherine Johnson – All Rights Reserved


Guardian Of The Golden Beyond

By Katherine Johnson

The Eye Dish From The Satellite Fence – Along U. S. 195 – Uniontown, WA – Whitman County

The Satellite Fence, as it is known locally, is located along U. S. 195 between Uniontown, WA and Lewiston, ID and has attached to it a series of wonderfully decorated television satellite dishes.

It began by chance around 2000 when Ben Wolf, who lived nearby, decorated a satellite dish and attached it to this particular stretch of fence. After that new dishes would appear from time to time over the years, sometimes spontaneously it would seem as if a they could arise, like the nearby wheat, from a seed.

In 2014, Ben’s son, Jake took this bit of impromptu public art and made it his high school senior project. Jake, who must be a terrific organizer and hustler, got the community behind him and soon he and his crew painted and erected enough dishes so they sit atop nearly every fence post for some 100 yards or so.

And like that, what started out as a whim, became a landmark that is something to anticipate and then savor when flying down this stretch of rural America.

My personal favorite is the blue-eyed dish, that never blinks as the world rushes by, and in its blueness, reminds one to look beyond the golden field and into the endless blue sky.

Copyright 2016 By Katherine Johnson – All Rights Reserved

Theme And Two Variations: Theme


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By Katherine Johnson

Palouse Landscape – Along U. S. 195 – Pulman, WA – Whitman Country

One of the goals of my of my latest trip around Washington State was to explore shooting landscapes from a point of view where the image contains a nexus point where the sky and the land are visually conjoined.

This compositional decision grew out of a series of ho-hum landscapes images, while pleasing in a postcard type of manner, felt as if the land and sky were disconnected entities occupying the same space; a state of being that is in complete opposition to what I experience when I am in that meditative state where I am thinking and looking carefully at the land.

A second goal was to apply the classical music form of theme and variation to this exploration. This choice dictated that I had to be careful to employ very different elements in the images while staying within the framework briefly outlined above. It is one thing to make a point and quite another to repeat the same point pointlessly. On the other hand, drawing out the subtle differences between different expressions of an idea, can and should be a sublime experience.

In this image, Palouse Landscape, the composition is to push the eye from right to left based on the direction that the clouds are moving while letting the dark and light sides of the clouds form a funnel, more or less, that drives down to the a single place on the horizon. A second aspect is to let the clouds carry the sense of depth while the land sits static in the lower fifth of the image.

As for what this all means in a cosmic sense is left to the viewer to decide.

Copyright 2016 By Katherine Johnson – All Rights Reserved

Theme And Two Variations: Variation 1


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By Katherine Johnson

Blue Mountain Landscape – Montgomery Ridge Road – Anatone, WA – Asotin County

Some miles south of the Palouse region the land changes from wheat country to one that is defined by the Blue Mountains and the basalt canyons that are exposed by the Snake River that cuts through them. This area is one of the more remote areas of Washington State that can be reached by car with Anatone, Washington, a place that is the essence of a rural town, being the main town between Asotin, WA and the Oregon border. It is so small that the people that live there list the population on a sign coming into town by the number of people, dogs, and various livestock that reside within the city limits.

This image, Blue Mountain Landscape, was taken during a small rain fall after leaving town and on my way to a dirt canyon road that drops several thousands of feet through the basalt walls down to the Snake River.

In this variation the idea was to move the sense of perspective to the land which is accomplished by the receding diagonal lines formed by the land and emphasized by the two tree clusters. The sky in this image has a circular energy that connects to the trees, the nexus point, that sit just over the horizon.

Copyright 2016 By Katherine Johnson – All Rights Reserved

Theme And Two Variations: Variation 2


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By Katherine Johnson

Palouse Wheat Field Landscape – Near Colfax, WA – Whitman County

Variation Two, Palouse Wheat Field Landscape, finds me back in the heart of wheat country, on a spectacular day, defined by the yellow-orange wheat fields, a dense blue sky, and those particular clouds found only in the Palouse.

In early August the wheat is aggressively being harvested by the multi billion dollar investment it takes to reap, collect and transport the wheat to the world. At this time of year the Palouse region runs on a 24 by 7 basis with the Harvest Combines, with their 40 foot cutters, running through the night using high intensity head lights. In a very real sense this race overwhelms that found in France during the 24 hours of Le Mans. This is not an exaggeration.

In this image, the goal was to drop far below the horizon and shoot up towards the sky. The clouds in this case, instead of dominating the sky, are mere islands in a sea of blue while at the same time they drive and connect to the land near the left side of the image.

Of course the unharvested wheat is the subtle star in this photo.

Copyright 2016 By Katherine Johnson – All Rights Reserved