A highlight of the Pope collection at Hill-Stead Farm are two Claude Monet paintings of haystacks. I mention this because after I left the main house, then free to use my camera, when I began to explore the photographic possibilities outside, I heard the voices of two children, a boy and a girl – not little children but adolescents, pre- or just teens. They were animated and hell bent on descending the hill into the meadow below.
I followed them, but, of course, couldn’t really keep up with their youthful legs and determination. The meadow was well groomed by the harvest reaping and bore a very striking resemblance to the fields in Monet’s paintings. The girl carried a plastic bag. They were out to collect something. The boy followed with a stick in his hands. Their conversation continued unabated. I couldn’t understand what they were saying. Their enthusiasm wasn’t meant for me – but a was a private thing. I had perhaps long ago lost the ability to understand their language.
The field was broken by two green paths. At a fork they had made a choice – the most direct path to wherever they were going. I followed them no further than the top of the hill. I looked out at the barn across the field, assuming that was their destination. But, I couldn’t be sure. The world seemed very much defined to me and didn’t draw me on any further. I had become an observer of the adventures of childhood.
I pulled out my camera to record the event. I framed the image the way I wanted it – neatly divided into geometric sections that paid homage to the “golden rule of thirds.” I loved the subdued pastel colors, the fall flowers in the foreground, and I loved the way the plow lines of the two sections weren’t all in the same direction. It was like a giant doodle that I might have scribbled when I was young and bored in school. I waited for the figures of the children to reach the point where I wanted them in the picture and I pressed the shutter. Then they moved on out of sight, and I heard them no more.