Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Interpret This Photograph


Here is a close-up shot of the same New Point building that I put up here day before yesterday.

Due to many reasons--all of which are dull, exhausting and caused by an inability to think coherently--I am not writing a story today. Instead, I want to play one of my favorite games, which I call Interpret This Photograph.

I need something to take my mind off the tedious, boring, predictable and exhausting day-to-day responsibilities and obligations; a subjective interpretation of a picture, a poem, a movie or a doughnut is just what I need right now.

Take a good, hard look at the picture above, and pause a moment to reflect on everything that's there. Tell me what you see, what it conjures up. There are no right or wrong answers. But I want you to say something about the picture, even if you mumble it to yourself, and even if those words are, "Why do I keep returning to this blog when all she does is ramble on and on about mundane, everyday nothings? Why?"

Some of you will see nothing, and will wonder if Chesapeake Bay Woman hasn't finally lost it completely. Some of you will see exactly what's there, a literal interpretation, such as an old house in need of paint and a new window.

And then you have someone like me who can look at it and spew off pages and pages of lengthy descriptions and subjective interpretations. Thankfully I'll only offer one interpretation, because I've already lost 3/4 of my four readers by this point anyway. Go ahead and take a nap if you want - I'll wake you up when it's over.

Let's get started, shall we? I'll go first, because I can:

The two main things I notice right off the bat are the colors (including the lighting) and the shapes.

There are the solid, straight lines of the photo's border; the rectangles within rectangles comprising the windows; and the horizontal lines of the boards. These are your standard, boring, predictable squares, rectangles and lines they teach you about in pre-school--or high-school geometry if it takes you that long to grasp the concepts, hypothetically speaking, of course. They're perfectly shaped, nothing unusual, your standard squares and rectangles.

Then there are the less obvious, more imperfect shapes formed by the shadows and the light that form a crisscross/diamond pattern on the side of the house. If you look carefully, you will see a similar diamond shape formed by the broken pane that is sideways in the otherwise rectangular window.

The colors are stark; this almost looks like a black and white photo even though it's a color picture.

However, if you look reeeeeaaaaaly closely to the right of the window, you will see--amidst all this lackluster wood--the tiniest hint of vivid color, a vine with a few green leaves.

So, to summarize my interpretation: Even the ordinary (plain shapes, lackluster colors) can contain the extraordinary (a flash of green leaves; some more interesting, less perfect, less noticeable shapes) if one simply takes the time to look closely enough, or if someone is there to point it out to you.

What do you see? Remember, there are no wrong answers. I'll pick out my favorite interpretation when I return from another way-too-lengthy and tedious (much like this post) day of work.

Speaking of pointing things out, could someone please point me to a vacation? Thank you.

(And for those of you who were napping, here is a gentle nudge for you to wake up. Also, you were drooling, but I promise I won't tell anyone.)

27 comments:

Angela said...

You are right, I would have overlooked the green! But it is there. How meaningful! (Look for hidden things and surprises etc.)No, I could not match your interpretation of the outside, I think all is said on the looks. To me other things come to mind (is that allowed?)as, I wonder how old this house is. Only wooden planks, not very safely built. Did people LIVE in there or was it a shack? In Germany we are always surprised why in your country all your houses are built of wood when you KNOW they can burn so easily, and not more bricks are used. And the window - when it gets cold it won`t be much of a hindrance for wind and ice. I once read a travel book by a lady in the 1800s who slept in a house like this in Colorado, and when she woke up the house was full of snow...I think it would be the perfect house for my former ten-year-old self to explore and maybe sleep in and pretend I was a pioneer, and outside I was listening for Indian attacks.
Okay, you see, I can go rambling on, too, and not even sticking to the theme. But that was fun, thank you.

Val said...

is it about rebirth and renewal - the old familiar lines fading, to be overtaken by new fresh ideas and growth than enhances the old but finally replaces?

Bear Naked said...

For somebody who says she can not think coherently, you have done a masterful job of interpreting that picture.
I looked at the photo and the first thing that came to my mind was "I hope no-one expects me to put the Christmas lights up around that window."

Bear((( )))

Anonymous said...

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times......black goop was coming out of the ground....they heard that Kaliforny was the place to be, so the loaded up the truck to Bevv-er-lee.

big hair envy said...

I see a window, out of which someone's great-great-grandmother used to peer. She watched for her family to return on foot from school or from the fields, or for company to arrive. While keeping an eye out, she skillfully pounded bread dough, and prepared the next meal. She kept the fire stoked in the winter, and the windows open in the summer. This woman was the soul of this home. When she died, the place she loved so dearly died along with her. The End.

Mental P Mama said...

I am that house. And that vine, my new hairs. Got anything to drink?

Cool Breeze said...

There is more color there if you look for it. In the unpainted wood, shades of grey, blue and brown.

What is the rusted pipe on the left corner? A drain line or where the power use to come in?

Is the top half of the window broken out too? The bottom half has two panes, where the top is not divided.

Grandma J said...

I hate it when I sleep in. That gives everyone plenty of time to take the words right out of my mouth! It's not fair to plagarize my mind when I'm sleeping!

I see a weathered building that's been through years of storms and people climbing in and out of that window. It looks like a late afternoon in the fall or winter by the shadows of some baron trees. I can only imagine the shadows in the summer when the trees are abundant with greenery.

Said before any coffee.

Phyl said...

Dear CBW,
Please remove the photo of my house. There is a reason I covered the window with a board from the INSIDE! I would prefer you (and all your little followers) to go away and LEAVE me in peace. I have my magical Christmas Bells to keep me company. I have enough Fractured Prune doughnuts and Peets coffee stocked for the winter. For one. Now shoo!
I might consider coming out in the spring if people are less annoying, work is less, well work and life is more along the lines of a fun happy hour with friends as opposed to a trip to the dentist without drugs.
Sincerely,
Boarded Up From the Inside Woman

PS - email me directly and I'll give you the special knock so you can come have a doughnut. it's almost as good as a vacation!

Yolanda said...

I see shades of gray, light and dark like life. I see that all things no matter how small have beauty even an old house.

Anonymous said...

He's (the house) deciding if he will return to the earth from which he came or if some young people will give him a coat of paint and turn him back into a castle again.

In spite of the shappy exterior, he still looks pretty strong. Bet it won't take much effort to get him gussied up.

nativedevil said...

Time moves on. The window tries to keep time out, but it eventually breaks. The board seems a more lasting device, but it will finally rot and crumble. The paint is left to it's barest point, with most of it chipped, cracked or gone. Only a vague white stain remains.
The building, like each of us, leaves an impression on this earth for only a short time. The building may last a bit longer, but it too will someday only be a memory. What will be remembered about it, or us?

Chesapeake Bay Woman said...

Just ducking in really quickly to say that these are all great answers, each and every one of them, even those who overslept.

Since there are no wrong answers, I can't say one is better than the other, but I will tell you I have 3favorites.

I'll be back on later - too much to do around here now. It's not too late to leave your interpretation AND you can leave more than one...otherwise I'll explain my 3 favorites when I return later.

-cbw

Life with Kaishon said...

I see an old clapboard house that used to have a happy family living inside! It's paint is weathered and it's boards are worn, but the love that was shared within the walls has escaped and is out there changing the world.

Anonymous said...

I must be tired, because I have no interpretation of this photo to share, only this -- I had to read BHE's comment 4 times, because each time this is what I saw:

"I see a window, out of which someone's great-great-grandmother used to pee"

NO, WAIT, that can't be right! and of course, finally, it wasn't

SHE PEERED -- peered, yes that makes more sense. Because of course PEERING and making bread dough are more compatible activities...

Sorry I missed my own debut the other day, I was sick and didn't log on. Serves me right!

Thanks for all the great comments!

AMNRITSOR
Anonymous Mathews Native

(and yes I still do *most* of the wrapping -- my husband has pity on me and helps)

big hair envy said...

Good Heavens AMNRITSOR, any person with couth would NEVER pee out of the front or side windows. They would go to the back of the house.....

Annie said...

Tho I like the photo, when asked to interpret it's meaning...it makes me feel tired, really tired, cos it reminds me of a house that we bought when I had three small children under 5 including a small baby, that kind of looked similar...far too much work needed to do it up, but we did, and we lived in it, even though it was leaning over! Underneath the house when we bought it was a stack of bottles..mainly beer bottles up to the floorboards...and every window pane was broken like this one!!! The End.

Annie, who has been away on a holiday with the family, eight grandkids under eight..includes 3 2yr olds and 2 4yr olds! oh and a 6 month cutie pie baby...well they are all cutie pies actually!

Ann Marie aka Carly said...

It has been a while .. quite a long while since I have seen this little building.. as I drive my car into town, yes back then New Point was a real live town, with a school, and stores, and post offices and neighbors who lent a helping hand whenever it was needed. Times have changed and the place has changed. I see change in this little building.. the weathered boards and missing glass panes are not what I see when I close my eyes..
Mrs Hazel Winder is standing in front of our little class room, it is early morning and many of us would have gladly been at the docks hauling fish or at the lot mending sain... but alas our parents wanted better for us than they had seen so here we sat. Mrs Winder asks... " Does anyone need anything from store before we start our lessons?" The typical hands rose quickly and Little Miss Martha Ann was quick to say.. "I need Luden's Cherry Cough Drops to make it through the day" a couple other friends raised their hands and Mrs Winder picked me that day to collect the dimes and pennies and to walk across the lot to the store. I walk in the little store, and I am kindly greated by Mr Charlie Brooks "Hello there young man how can I help you today? Need more cough drops for class?" I nod my head with a quick reply slightly embarrassed by the hair cut I had gotten the afternoon before right next door by Herbert Smith.. I don't know why daddy keeps taking me back there.. i could have done better with Grannies Hedge Clippers. As Mr. Brooks gathers up the items on the list I had walked over with I admire the penny candy in the jars and wish I had a couple more cents on me for just a piece or two.. but I only had the 5 cents for my cough drops for the day.. I gather my wares and I head back to my little class room for the lessons of the day...

I open my eyes and I see my weather hands.. much like this little building we have seen so many days and people come and go but we are both still here with memories and stories left to tell...

bellalately said...

To me, it looks wrecked and torn up. Alot like my guts after eating a few weeks of holiday junk. I'm in dire need of an apple and a salad.

What can I say? I'm not that deep ;) LOL!
XO
Bella

Chesapeake Bay Woman said...

OK, no fair. Now I can't limit my favorites to 3.

Everyone has done an exceptional job of making me either laugh, think, or both. Two of you almost made me cry....(those 2 were in my original 3 favorites and may still make it to the finals). Many of you saw things I did not originally, and some of you had very creative stories! We are quite the think tank here.

Bravo to you all and thank you for contributing, even if one of you did think about somebody peeing instead of peering out of the window. (Glad you're feeling better, AMNRITSOR! Please send me some more stories.)

All of your interpretations are wonderful. Thanks again.

Chesapeake Bay Woman said...

Ann Marie - I do have to say, that is one fine story - thank you so much.

Meg @ Soup Is Not A Finger Food said...

Without reading the other comments first (because damn girl I would shit myself if I got 20 comments on any post!), the one thing that jumped out at me was the cockeyed pane of glass all askew inside the wooden window frame. And that's partly because there's a house at the top of our street that burned recently and the windows got boarded up, and gradually, all the glass panes disappeared, and it's been bugging me whenever I drive by that house.

PS, look over there --> for your vacation. You're welcome.

Anonymous said...

Don't know about the rest of you, but I'm starting to think CBW might have been pulling our leg - Is there really a prize or is she just making stuff up?


shhh, don't tell CBW....would have written a comment anyway just to look at more pictures :)

Chesapeake Bay Woman said...

Remember, there were no right or wrong answers. I loved each and every comment, truly.

If pressed to pick only one, I can't. So, I will tell you several of my favorites.

1. Native Devil's will be the most memorable for me and the most meaningful.

2. Anne Marie wins for best historical accuracy.

3. BHE and Second Anonymous Comment win for putting a human touch (one female, the other male) to the building. I happen to also believe that Anonymous is also talking about himself when he talks about the building, but that's just my interpretation of his interpretation...

4. All the others win for making me laugh, think, revisit the picture or smile. Anonymous Mathews Native made me laugh out loud with her pee vs. peer dilemma.

Everyone's a winner. Thank you all for participating.

Anonymous said...

How'd you know I wear glasses?
(broken window pane simile...or what ever that's called)

Anonymous said...

Mouse hotel, kitty cat grocery store, raccoon roost, ground hog hide away, vulture nest and snake shack. Just keeping it real! I love old buildings too. When ever I see one I want to fix it up and live in it, I'm weird.

cats said...

With the sun shining on this window, it makes you think there are still signs of life in a house that is crumbled from decay. There were once eyes looking out of that window. There was life inside and Christmas trees and family. If this window could talk, it would tell you some fascinating stories. This house could be renovated and be beautiful with lots more stories to tell. It would tell you now about a life that was much simpler in time, before internet.