Wednesday, February 24, 2010


The late afternoon sunlight is a deep yellow quickly turning into pale orange, like an egg yolk spilling across the sky. The landscape is a wide series of low hillsides that cover the land like soft round breasts in all directions. The earth is covered in dry soil that dances when touched, sending its dust up to speak. There are scattered patches of green grass in various stages of death, yellow and green mingling, and tall cactuses that reach with thorny arms to the missing clouds in the sky. Tumbleweeds roll across the hills every few minutes, each riding and rolling through another warm gust of wind that blows with abandon. Every animal that might live here is hidden. Rodents and insects keep to their burrows, birds remain in their nests, nothing moves on these hills but the grass.
The only sound breaking the silence of the land is the occasional light whistling of the wind and the rhythmic clomping of horse hooves. A pack of five brown horses trots in a tight cluster. Atop each is a cowgirl in a wide brimmed straw hat, golden skin and eyes that survey the horizon. Their hair is wild and curly and swarms like Medusa’s snakes in the wind. Their chests are covered in light cotton shirts with plaid patterns and their legs are protected by old blue jeans and leather chaps. Though they are young, all of them only a few years over thirty, the skin of their hands reveals the battle between elements, between wind and stone, and the lines around their eyes tell of their old tales. The women ride close together, just a few inches apart in a tight pack, horse ribs and cowgirl knees occasionally touching.
Just a few feet behind the women is another tight pack of horses moving at a gentle trot, but this is a group of four men and one young woman. Each is dressed casually in jeans and t-shirts and the men wear baseball hats. The man slightly in front of the pack holds a video camera to his right eye, he is quietly watching the women through his lens. On either side of him are the boom mic operators, each attempting to hold their long microphones a few feet above the cowgirls. Behind the camera man is the sound operator and beside him, the young female assistant who stares intently into a small screen, watching for any equipment that might enter the shot. They all trot slowly, moving through the glow of the afternoon, each with their particular role.

Thursday, February 11, 2010


A woman sits alone in a dim garage. The overhead florescent light attached to the ceiling and two tall floor lamps are all off. There is a row of frosted glass on the top of the garage door, and through this, the filtered light of a late afternoon finds her form and illuminates the room in a pale bluish hue that grows weak by the walls. She sits on an old wooden stool with three rungs, and her bare feet rest on the lowest one, curling slightly around the smooth bar. The stool has no back, and the woman sits up relatively straight, though her shoulders sag slightly around the straps of her thin tank-top. Below the stool is a rectangular maroon carpet that is frayed on all sides, but clean and bright in the center, a silent reminder of its old glory. Outside, on the sidewalk just beyond the boundary of the wooden garage door, worn and weathered from years of rain, are the clear sounds of passersby. The soft padded step of a man intent on his destination, the click clap of a woman’s heels. A man singing to himself, just a little louder than a whisper, the whistling of a car badly in need of a tune-up. The woman sits. The walls of the garage are covered in posters and framed paintings, but in the low light of the garage, they are barely visible. A long wood work bench sits along the wall shared with the garage door. It is clear but for a few glass jars of paintbrushes that sit close to the wall. The stems of each paintbrush are stained with paint: red, blue, not a single color is absent. Perpendicular to the garage door is a cherry wood desk, its design is slightly curved, a blend of art deco and turn-of-the century style. Each of the six drawers are embellished with delicate lined carvings that bend delicately to create the drawer’s handle. A few scattered papers lay on top of the desk, but behind them and towards the wall is a small metal box holding random papers and magazines. Beside it, a small ceramic cup holds three sharpened pencils, ready for use. The woman on the stool is just a few feet away from both desks. On the wall to her left are three black bookshelves. Each shelf is filled with books, outdated encyclopedias and years worth of magazines, there is not an inch for one more. Every shelf is dusted, each book spine completely clean. Behind the woman is a flight of red wooden stairs that lead to the apartment above the garage, they are also clean, but for a few stands of black hair have gathered on the bottom step. Below the sounds of the street outside is the gentle lull of the neighbor’s washing machine, it seeps in through the thin wall and acts like glue, gathering the scattered noises to build a singular song.