Don't act like y'all don't know where we be neither.

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Showing posts with label Bartlams. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Bartlams. Show all posts

Friday, February 8, 2013

Swamp Rat

That's where I grew up y'all. 

I mean I lived in a house...went to school and church in buildings but, this is where I spent at least half of my childhood. It's Lake Cascade. We lived on Cascade Dr...a small neighborhood, that came off the truck route, made a loop along one shore of the lake and then back out.

This is where we played. When I was little, I got at least two whoppins for goin' down there without supervision. We found a dead gator down there one time...he'd been shot and hacked up. There was a baby gator that lived in one the pools around the lake. Seemed like he stayed on the same stump for a year. 

Of course, the place was the natural habitat of our arch enemy, Satan's charm bracelet...

I guess we just tried not to think about him.  There was a little island in the lake that was said to be so covered with Cotton Mouths that if you looked hard enough you could see it wriggling. Maybe it was a defensive mechanism...mentally we put them all out on the island. I did watch a fella kill one in the water with a bow. That was pretty cool...back to hell you go.

There were big, high banked canals that would connect some of the pools with the lake...we never went in those. That was a strip of black water running between 6ft  walls of roots and holes. We did swim in the lake though. Out towards the middle of the lake there was a homemade diving platform built in group of cypress trees. One of my fondest memories is being out there with my brothers and their friends. I was still wearing the bubble (an egg shaped piece of styrofoam with canvas straps that chaffed and dug into my under arms), I must have still been pretty little. They were trying to get me to jump off into the water. At my size it looked like were were 50ft in the air. They finally bribed me into it by promising that I could be the first to kiss Daddy when he got home from work. It was quite a race to meet him at his car in the evenings...with my tiny legs I didn't stand a chance.

One day, me and a buddy of mine come up on a fella that nearly drowned. His canoe had turned over and he couldn't swim. We helped him in the last few feet. It had to be a strange scene...two ten year olds draggin' a grown, gasping man out of a foot and a half of water. The most absurd part was that, except over sink holes, the water never really got that deep. He could have bounced off the lake bed from 100 ft out. 

It dried up every couple of years...or drained. Sink holes would drain it. The other side of the lake was near wilderness. It was crisscrossed with dirt roads...and pocked with sinkholes. Sink holes are just creepy. A perfect cone, about 150ft across and down to a pool of jet black water. Every once in a while they'll crack open in a populated area. Gainesville had a couple of big ones open up in the middle of town.

You can see the waterline on the cypress but, obviously this was taken after a long dry spell.

In its Glory.

The little cinder block house we lived in is gone now. In fact almost all the houses are gone now. The airport bought up most of the neighborhood years ago. It wasn't a fancy place to start with and now it's gone back to wilderness. 

Probably overrun with *&^^%% Cottonmouths.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Mirror in a Dark Room

I'm not really what you'd call an open minded person. The door is definitely shut.

 I don't make up my mind lightly. It is possible that I sometimes confuse exhausting mental debate, which is actually the product of a maddening compulsion, with thoroughness.

 That's why the door's locked but not dead-bolted. If one knocks loud enough, long enough...looks in the window...lays on the door bell, honks the car horn. I might peak through the curtains long enough to give you the finger and mouth "Go Home! I'm calling the cops and loading my shotgun."

 No..I'm kidding. Really.

Of course, locks can be picked...just as surely as an analogy can be taken too far and become annoying.

Look at this.... Photobucket This is a photograph taken by Amy Bartlam. She is a professional photographer in England but, this was just a casual instagram post. I found Amy's blog for the obvious reason. She's a Bartlam. I've never talked to a Bartlam that wasn't a sibling or a parent of some kind. I was curious.

 -Adam and I have this running conversation about people's names in these parts...Metcalfe, Shackleford, Vickers, Shaws of every kind, etc. Nine times out of ten* people will tell you they're Irish or Scottish when, in fact, they just have peculiar English names. Somehow, despite being surrounded by Lamberts and Hadleys, Bartlam is a real problem for people to get their tongues should see the spellings my boss comes up with. My last name tag read Erin Barthelam. That's respect. Anyway...there aren't very many of us over here.- 

Turned out...she was a really good photographer. There were hip wedding pictures and interior shots that were very...well, professional. She's a professional.. Then she started posting these instagram things. I think that's what you call 'em. I'm neither hip nor hip to these app They were these abstract photographs (see we've encountered our first problem right there)...or, abstracts from photographs.

It's gorgeous. A warm pinkish background with frosted streaks, stains and hints of geometric shapes to give it texture. It does...or seems to do arrrrrgghhh...what abstract paintings do best, present beauty as beauty without the mental hindrance of objects.

Then the trick...the stark black steak across the surface is a shadow and the cord or rope that's causing it. This ineffable (except of course it's a *&*%*(&^ photograph) expression is a song only stationary. With a jolt it's pinned down in time and space.

Maybe I'm just a functioning idiot (can it Adam) but, it knocked me out.

There's a problem though. Up to this point I was absolutely certain that a photograph could not possibly be considered a work of A Art. High Art.** It might be possible to manipulate or doctor a photograph into a piece of Art...but, for all practical purposes that's painting. The problem is that a photograph can't help but present an image as image. It's like holding up a mirror to something you could plainly see for yourself at the right time and place.

It's not that objects can't be presented as Art but they ought to have what Arthur C. Danto described as "transfiguration of the commonplace."

Flowers from Botticelli's Primavera

If you've ever seen a flower you recognize these as flowers but....come the &*^%& on! Have the flowers in your back yard (garden for the bar-b-quers) ever struck you like that?  The whole painting puts a fluttering pit in my stomach. There's a hint of anxiety because the world I see is not that beautiful. There's sheer awe mixed with joy and hope that somebody has.

Hope. The hope that the world might actually be this beautiful...more beautiful even. That the problem is with us...with the circumstance we have found ourselves in..*** If that's the case...if the hope is for a realization of a more beautiful reality, why can't the photographer provide a glimpse of how beautiful the world might actually be?  Forcing you to look at an object as is to demonstrate the beauty of ordinary things. That's quite a feat.

So I'm sticking my head out the door and declaring, as quietly and quickly as I can.."photographycanbeArt." And slamming that *&^*& shut again. Click. Go away.


*That tenth person is indeed going to be of Irish or Scottish decent and have a McPreposterous name. I saw a McStreet sign the other day that I wish I'd written down. Indecipherable.

** I'm trying to separate High Art from art...enjoyable images, etc., whatever. It's not a value judgement but a classification. Much of what I enjoy and surround myself with would hardly be considered fine art.

***WARNING Religious Connotations! WARNING! WARNING! :)

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Kings Norton

Photobucket This place was spared in 1912 when my Great Grandparents, Fredrick and Martha (nee Hearnshaw) Bartlam, boarded a ship for America. In a round about...very very round...way we recently got hold of some genealogy information. The Bartlams have evidently been in and around Birmingham for a long time...Deritend (lots of youngins born here), Inkley...Hinkley. My great grand parents hung around long enough to get married at the Parish Church in Balshall Heath. After coming over here, Fredrick sorta went back when he signed up in Canada to fight in the First World War. There's some fighters in there...but, not too many of us have fought for the U.S. There's a John Bartlam that came to South Carolina, from the same area in Birmingham, during the late 18th century. He was a Loyalist killed by rebels during battle in the American War of Independence. My Daddy's maternal family (Garbetts) seems to have been in Georgia for almost as long as the Bartlams have been in Birmingham...around Quitman. My Daddy was born in a house there on family property. It's weird to be reading along and see my Grandmother's place of death as Jackson, Mississippi...even stranger to read that she had a brother who died in Louisiana. Turns out my Great Great Grandmother was either from Louisiana or Mississippi. Best of all we've been able to pin down family units in the War Between the States. Photobucket Erasmus D. Garbett, Sergeant F company, 6th Florida Infantry. Samuel Garbett was there with him. Lots of cavalry Troopers in Florida too...2nd Cav. Lots of names...Catledge, Collins, Wesley, Smith, Green, Bailey... Anyway...if y'all can tell me about Kings Norton and Deritend...I'll tell you all about Cherry Lake and Quitman, Gerogia.