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Essay: How Green Will the Valley Get?

Friday, February 26th, 2010

Because I’m editing a summer chapter in my book, I’ve been thinking a lot about what will happen when the thaw comes to the Hard 50 Farm. What will the trees look like around the pond once they have leaves? What is under all that frozen soil and snow by the bones of the old plow? Will it look like spring by the time I’m back from tour? How green will the valley get?

When I initially began writing the book, I was living in Virginia behind an off-limits nature preserve that I would sneak into every day. This second shot was taken alongside a saltwater lagoon in the preserve after the daily monsoon of a thunderstorm came (3pm, like clockwork.) The giant, ancient tree that I’m in grew out over the water and I would climb it, walk along the sidewalk of its massive horizontal trunk, and sit in the V and watch the turtles rise up in the murk. The air after the rain was always hot and wet and rich. By dusk the fireflies would lift up out of the long grass. I was so incredibly depressed.

In the photo it looks like I’m falling out of the tree. It’s not a good photo, but I like the deception of the angle and how it’s hazy and shot up into the light. I like it because that was how the summer in Virginia felt—like a deception, a hideaway disguised as an exile, every day hot and washed-out by sun. Here’s to the good long summer to come and me and you being around for it…

BIO: Adam Gnade's (guh nah dee) work is released as a series of books and records that share characters and themes; the fiction writing continuing plot-lines left open by the self-described "talking songs" in an attempt to compile a vast, detailed, interconnected, personal history of contemporary American life. Check out recent writing here and songs here. Contact: adam@asthmatickitty.com