Mornings in the rose garden.

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Beacon Hill Park has a beautiful gated rose garden that you can enter and wander through. The high metal gates prevent deer and give it a mildly romantic feeling. To be really honest sometimes the smell of roses is a bit much but it’s still really beautiful to see them covered in dew drops and be in a garden all by yourself while the rest of the world goes about their day.

Tidal pools/Little ocean flowers

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I haven’t been sleeping.

I love sleeping. I love dreaming, REM cycles, I love knowing when I woke up that I slept well. Sleep and I are at odds right now, and it’s rather wretched.

I took a walk yesterday before going to campus to read because I was too tired and punchy to do good work. It was still low tide, and the beach smelled like it- lots of leftover, decaying seaweed, kept strands, and the wet smell of wood that has been in the ocean.

I carefully made my way across the black, slick rocks and found little pools of anemones and tiny tiny fish and crustaceans. Some of them were folded up because the water wasn’t quite reaching them. It was wonderful to take a break from being inside and working and being with the naturalia around me for a bit.

Various feelings about my thesis illustrated by Twin Peaks

Intermittent crying regarding frustration finding sources because archives are hell and horribly organized and nobody gets back to you. s1_e6_crying

Somebody suggests you might actually need help on the damn thesis but you’re feeling hostile and defensive so you ignore their advice and later collapse even though you are actually a nice person underneath it all. s1_e4_hulkingboob

Ravenous bouts of hunger that make you feel productive because at least you’re fueling your next bout of angst and guilt-filled procrastination that will end with you falling asleep reading a source at 3 am. s1_e3_omnomnom

When you think you’ve been really fucking productive but then realize how much more is left to do. s1_e2_distant_thunder

When you try to do things you enjoy like beach walks and making photographs but are consistently hounded by the reality that you’re not working on the thesis and you suck and it’s all futile and life is cold and the universe indifferent. s1_e1_sobbing

Trying to explain to your family who doesn’t really get it that this is really really hard and that all of these problems actually matter. s1_e1_ohdear

More sobbing because for some reason Andy sobbing matters a lot and feels relevant because he’s so pure and good and at one point you probably were too. s1_e1_cryingagain

At some point you’ll reach the stage where you feel cold and emotionless and more like a shell of a human. But since you have good skincare routines and a decent sartorial sense you’ll at least look decent. cooper_s1e1

 

L’autunno is here (again)

29633018062_71a67eda44_b29453236080_376bce686b_b29633026852_2803176f2c_b29633034572_6c6d3072e7_b29633021312_2abd8b6267_bThis morning it was properly raining for the first time since I’ve been back. I decided to go on a walk, as it didn’t seem to be raining too terribly hard.

As soon as I got a mile in, to my favorite cemetery, it began to pour. I hid beneath a tree for  a minute, then high-tailed it to a bus stop where I took the bus home, with a deep chill and only a few frames. You can see that everything is already changing or gearing up to change.

The Helena Farmer’s Market

29010225864_6e961818bf_b29636475565_d4c424980b_b29636469575_7992002982_b29636470475_fc9c36d5fc_bSaturdays are meant to be spent nibbling on baklava from your local Hungarian baker with the sun shining while meals are being mentally cooked up as you both consider all the options.

Shining jars of pure local honey glisten and you handle produce, feeling the bumpy skin of squash and smelling the roasted peanuts from the stand down the way. A producer snips off carrot stems to keep them fresher for you and people chat, eagerly telling their stories, talking about their vegetables and fruit, giving you more than just food, but giving you a loved, cultivated thing that they cared for enough and are now handing over to you.

Everybody remembers your extra tall partner in crime, and he knows much more about food than you do. He chats about lamb for a good while with some ranchers from Boulder and you people watch. At the end you leave with way too much food for two people but aren’t upset about it.

The Helena Farmer’s Market is a great way to start off a proper weekend. Grabbing a bagel from the Bagel Co. or getting baklava, sipping coffee from one of the food trucks, and letting all the smells and sounds envelop you. You can buy beautiful flowers, little fresh herbs, pheasant skins, jam, handmade hats, candles, fresh bread, multiple kinds of garlic, lip balms and lotions, handmade soaps, beautiful jewelry, and as much kettle corn as you want.

People have a special zest for the farmer’s market here- it’s always busy! Perhaps it’s because we Montanans spend 6 months of the year with fierce, bitter-cold winters, so our time for green things, for food that you can pluck from the soil, is so limited and we understand this relationship. We get to go somewhere with an abundance of beautiful, locally grown things that came from our harsh landscape, and while you hate the winter you love the summer, and ultimately you do love where you live. We love being able to be outside, and any excuse to gather together is taken. Once summer begins to fade, we keep our freezers full of quart bags of huckleberries and rhubarb so that pies can be made. Our mums can fruit and make jam for the long dark months, and some of our fathers gear up for hunting season so that elk, pheasant, deer, goose, and duck can once again be part of our diet and fill the extra freezer many of our families have in the garage or basement. We waste not, we want not, for soon this street and town will be covered in long-lingering chunks of snow and ice and the hours of the day will not be so kind. Better love the enormous sweet onions that call your name and buy the beautiful fresh carrots while you can.

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Restless

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Some days are made for unproductive things like contemplation and quiet sounds. I found a quiet corner of campus where I sit and think. I’ve been re-reading The Steppenwolf by Herman Hesse and my mind wanders far off properly trodden paths and flits from idea to idea. I think about people I miss, about what the weather home might be like. If I can hear any birds in the grove near this window I am seated at. I think about how a Mercedes almost hit me today because I was being a typically assertive pedestrian at a crosswalk and how it would actually have been really bad to be hit but at the time I didn’t feel anything other than mild frustration.

These photographs were made on a contemplative day. We walked and ran errands and ended up here, making photographs of each other and not saying much. It was one of my last days in Montana for a while and it was a dreary, chilly day. It was like being in the midst of an empty Tim Burton set, and I imagined things with many eyes were peaking out of trees and old bricks and holes in the walls and I wanted to nap in the boughs nearby very badly. I was nestled in a hat and scarf for the first time since March and Logan wore his peacoat which I hadn’t seen in several months.  Fall was quietly letting us know that she was here, that she was arriving and would make all the leaves fall and gnaw at our hours of daylight and make us slowly change our wardrobes. I like fall but in Montana she is a brief, dramatic creature who leaves very quickly, but this day she was fully present and staking her territory.

While I’m on this tangent, it is so strange to be back in Victoria, with autumn already strutting about in red and orange. I took a long walk last night starting in the graveyard and there were already little leaf carpets to crunch on. The mornings are chilly, the evenings have a tang to them, and summer is fast fleeting here on this island where I have experienced the most beautiful autumn of my life (aesthetically). I will eagerly devour all the visual changes, document them, and show them to you all.

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