Sunday, December 30, 2007

Tidy / Ends #1 or #2

"Tidy / Ends Challenge #1"
Cotton field
Martin County, Texas

"Tidy / Ends Challenge #2"
Fairhaven Cemetery
Martin County, Texas

These are my entries for this week's Two Things Challenge for "Tidy / Ends." Going through my Martin County pictures taken yesterday, I was struck how each of these photos could be said to convey either "tidy" or "ends" or both.

More than apart, I like these two together. I like the repeating color of the earth, the starkly flat horizons, the same angle and shape of the cotton and plot. I like, while they are not exactly tidy, that they both have been tidied. (Much like life.) I like how both were once living things, now at their predictable ends. I also thought how the man in the plot very well might have once been dependent on cotton for a living.

You might remember other of my cotton pictures, when budding and green in September, and when perfectly ripe in November. Now the cotton is picked, sitting in the fields in these huge, packed bricks, ready to go to the gin. At the gin, they will be cleaned, the fibers sold to be made into household linens and next year's fashions. Even the separated seed will be used. From it they produce either oil or bagged and sold as stock feed (called "cottonseed meal"). To the consternation of the know-it-all guys at the Ranch Supply store, I use the meal to sprinkle on my lawn as slow-release, non-chemical fertilizer.

Another cycle, picture #2, is the human life cycle at its end. This rural plot was tidy and well tended, even though the person died in the 60s. This small cemetery is still segregated between Anglos and Hispanics. Probably at one time that was by rule, and now likely it is by choice, reflecting the persistent division of cultures. I've noticed in Texas cemeteries that Anglo plots seem to convey piety and dignity for a person's life hereafter. Whereas Hispanic plots seem to prefer a colorful, home-hewn quality conveying on-going adoration by the living. A sad notation, though, in rural cemeteries the Hispanic plots are relegated to the rear.

I am quite the explainer today, excited (and now well-rested) after returning from the glorious day of outdoor adventure and photo-taking with Donna. Which photo do you prefer? Or if you prefer, in your opinion how could these photos be improved?


Bobbie said...

I have to say this is a most appropriate entry x 2 for the 2 things challenge. Being an old cotton-picker from way back I'll have to choose #1 because I love the nubbyness of the cotton. Perhaps #2 is a little to close for comfort :)

Andi said...

I choose #2. It's sad and quiet and stark, but the flowers offset the starkness just a bit.

Bev said...

I remember your picture of the cotton growing in the fields and it is some way between the plump fluff balls blowing in the wind, and this tidy, but necesssary block of cotton.

I like the picture 2 the best. It is a lovely grave, and it shows people trying to make something tidy and beautiful which really isn't tidy at all.

Sandollar said...

I really like #2...although I find it hard to explain...I have a vision of loved ones coming to visit and leaving flowers tucked into the fence...very touching.

John (Copyright JMM 2007) said...

Both photos are very good and I my recommendation is both should be part of a series - multiple shots for each locale to explore two distinct places with your vision. I never knew anything like that cotton block existed - as alien to me as probably are some subway rats I see everyday are to you.

My best for the new year.

D.C. Confidential said...

I really like the depth perception and the juxtaposition in both of these! No. 2 is most striking to me because the pink flowers add a touch of melancholy the composition that just tugs at your heart.

Once again, very, very well done!

nelda said...

I like #1, although I am touched by #2. Both are great pictures and truly depict "the end", of life, actually, and are quite "tidy" about it.

Lisa Sarsfield said...

You really are clever Debi! And brave I might add asking for possible improvements! Not that there is really any to suggest except perhaps something to indicate the height/size of the cotton's not critisim of your photo though!
It's appropriate that at the end of my year I am seeing the end plant product (not man made from the plant) of one of the very first photo's I saw on your blog! Nice wee coincidence!
However I really like number 2 and your story of the cemetries.There are some historic Maori burial sites in NZ that were strictly for Maori and also some Marae's (in short a place of meeting on Maori owned land) that still have their own burial places. There are also historic early white settler grave sites. I don't think there's any seperation in modern cemetries these days...
Anyway that was a wee wonder off the topic! I choose number 2 for your lovely peaceful shot of something that is potientially sad yet you've made look beautiful!

griesmail said...

Visited your blog before, did not comment.
I like your photos and stories.
Happay New Year wishes from Holland

dianeclancy said...

Hi Debi,

These are great tidy ends .. and I agree they work great together. My vote is for #2 though.

I have tagged you ... you can see the details over at my blog.

I would love to know more about you!

~ Diane Clancy

Fawzan Barrage said...

As my daughters would say:
"Ba ba black sheep have you any wool?
Yes sir yes sir three bags four!
One for my master and one for my day,
One for the little boy who lives down the drain!"
... I guess you know which one I am voting for!

Fawzan Barrage said...

Of course this is cotton isn't it!! Hehe!
Happy New Year!

Debi said...

Thank you everyone for your votes.

Mom, you can't imagine how much cotton is in those stacks. They are packed tight. Cotton pickin' has changed, you and your fingers will be glad to know.

Andi, I thought the flowers were beautiful on that plot. I can't quite explain it, perhaps it is the space between them and the paleness of them.

Bev, no, I guess death isn't tidy at all. But, necessary. And we don't get a choice anyway, so may as well accept it as beautiful or tidy or necessary or whatever.

Sandollar, I thought it was touching too. This person died in the 60s and are still tended to.

John, I'm sure there are lots of alien things to me in your world, just as there are here to you in mine. I love that about the planet we live on -- that it is still diverse. Thank you for the encouragement. I like the idea you mentioned a lot.

D.C., yes that's it. You've said it just right. The color and placement of those flowers tugs at your heart.

Nelda, you almost voted for #2 didn't you? Almost. I'll make a lover of quirky things out of you yet. ha ha Just kidding. I love you just as you are, dearheart.

Lisa, I would love to see a Maori plot. Is that morbid of me? Actually I would love to see traditional plots of places all over the world. I almost asked about it in my post but thought better of it.

Hi Trinjnie. I'm glad you've stopped by. I've seen you "around." Happy New Year to you and yours in Holland.

Diane, thank you for the encouragements always and I'll do the tag soon. I was just as pleased to read about YOU.

Fawzan, ha. The sentiment is the same -- wool or cotton.

Well, I'm pleased to see the little well-tended plot touched hearts.