Airy Knoll, or Fairy Knoll as I am considering callings it (on account of the magic like atmosphere), has treated me wonderfully for the past two weeks. During that time I have made new friends, taken thousands of photographs, and realized that is about time that I made a book about that place.
Over the course of the past 4 years, I have let my heart become one with those beautiful Virginia hills.
Although I have felt as if I belonged there since I was a child, it has been the last few years that have shaped me. Changing how I see the world. World class poets and artists have given me their time and attention, and treated me as an equal. People like Suzanne Stryk, an incredible naturalist, painter, renaissance woman, and Thomas Heffernan, an English teacher with enough knowledge to choke a legion of horse, and a world class poet (possibly be the best English language writer of Haiku). Of course this world is all brought together by my amazing mentor Elizabeth Ross, someone who has never taken no for an answer (especially when it comes to trying to give people hair cuts).
Whether it is the people who come to the land, or some property of the land itself that changes how people interact, there is something purely magical about Airy Knoll.
It astounds me how much I have learned, and how much I've grown in the past few years. Not just as an artist, or photographer, but as a human being.
Those of you who know me, and/or Airy Knoll, will have an a good understanding of what I'm talking about.
Over the years that I've spend there, I have taken thousands and thousands of photos. Written page after page of journals. Washed more dishes than I like to think about. And made more memories than I can actually remember.
It is with great hope and excitement that I will start to imagine, dream, write, and show how Airy Knoll has affected me.
I look forward to sharing much much more.
My girlfriend Hana and I are really into self sufficiency at the moment. Well, sort of. We haven't managed to escape from the clutches of the grocery store, but we also are not planning on disappearing into the woods to wait for the collapse of society. We are more concerned with offsetting our carbon foot print, and dependence on corporations.
We don't just worry about the quality of our food, but the treatment of it. Personally if I had to choose to be a cow, I would much rather live on a grassy knoll than in a feed lodge up to my knees in dung. Plus that sort of agriculture requires so many antibiotics to keep animals living, and so much oil to raise the grain to feed them, it is simply not sustainable or ethical.
These little ducks on the other hand and are living a charmed life. The belong to Hana's grandmother, and they have inspired us to get our own. I tried to take these ones, but apparently "I wouldn't have anywhere to put them." The first thing to do is set up a little duck house that will provide enough protection from raccoons and whatever else might want to eat them. But as soon as that is done, I think I'll be heading straight to the Tractor Supply store.
We've been looking at all sorts of exotic barnyard animals, from Indian Runners, to Musk Ox. I think a few of these cute little ducks will teach us a lot about raising animals.
But of course I do have a more selfish reason for coveting livestock of all sorts. I just can't help but think they would be an endless source of photographic inspiration. I've often fantasized about being a wildlife photographer, but I just have such a hard time sitting still in the woods and waiting for the animals to come to me. I always have the urge to keep moving, to find out what's behind that next hill, or inside that old hollow tree. Having my own animals would help fill my desire for helping preserve nature, as well as my desire to interact with it.
I hope to get a home for them set up soon so that I can share more of my farm fantasy adventures with you.