Posts Tagged ‘home’


Uncle Frank, Chichester, New Hampshire © Jim Korpi

To witness the tears of a grown man is like seeing a nocturnal bird of prey in daylight, someone forced it into a world it has evolved to avoid.
One of the earliest memories I have of life on the farm in New Hampshire was the first evening we drove up the long driveway. The warm yellow light from life in the kitchen spilled onto the wood porch, poured into the lawn and was a beacon in the blue dusk.
The grandfather, I was to know as Dubba, and his oldest son, Uncle Frank, sat in chairs by the wood-fired cook stove with guitars resting on their laps. They were cheerful and loose with words. “My ding-a-ling, your ding-a-ling, won’t you play with my ding-a-ling,” Uncle Frank bellowed and strummed.
A year ago my younger brother celebrated his marriage at the old farmhouse. It was the first time most of the family had been back on the property since we left it.
The wedding ceremony finished and guests filed into the old barn for the next stage of the event.
Uncle Frank walked with his drink to the western edge of what was once the farmhouse garden but was now a manicured ornamental bush bordering the wedding altar.
“I fuckin’ miss this place,” he said softly after I sat beside him. We sat quiet. I agreed without words. I somehow missed it too. A tear made its way from the sadness of his eyes down his nose. I made this portrait of him.
Uncle Frank died one week ago. His funeral is today. I am an ocean away, but here I am remembering him.

Welcoming Committee


High Water Prayer, Po River, Italy © Jim Korpi

“Welcome to the country,” my closest neighbor Mr. Cooley said as a silver dollar-sized piece of skin on my left hand sizzled on the exhaust of the lawn mower he was trying to convince me to buy. Prior to this sales pitch, he pointed out how important it was to keep the property mowed.
Another neighbor pulled up our dirt driveway on his Harley Davidson, complete with saddle bags, the modern cowboy.
“If you don’t mow you’ll have to worry about these,” he warned as he pulled a quart-sized mason jar from his brown leather saddle bag and handed it to me. Coiled at the bottom of the transparent trap was the golden body of a young copperhead snake whose head was perched high and eyes were following every movement that surrounded him. “I keep a few of these in my freezer.”
From the front porch I watch as the yellow finches land on the seed heads of waist-high grass and balance themselves in the sway of their weight and the wind. They peck at the grass between their feet like a hungry farmer at a warm ear of corn. At dusk the pale grass comes alive with the flashing of a civilization of fireflies.

The Beaten Path


Ice Cream in Desert, Bahrain © Jim Korpi

The first place they stopped was the first place their Lonely Planet guide suggested they eat with their budget. Simon searched his smart phone for a walking map to the restaurant while Barb read the address from the book.
They wanted authentic food, something off the beaten path. They had travelled all over the world and used their guidebooks to get to where they needed to sleep, eat, and to all the places they needed to see.
The street was lined with vendors selling souvenirs closely related to the geography, but often not. There were soccer jerseys for teams throughout Europe and colorful postcards of landscapes far from this street.
At the restaurant they recognized three couples from the hostel where they were staying. Their guidebook suggested a hostel it considered “clean and cheap.”
During dinner Simon and Barb planned their itinerary for the next day. Their hope was to see something different, something off the beaten path.
The gondola ride they took to the top of the mountain was something the guidebook said could not be missed. If they got there during lunch hours they were told they would avoid the long lines.
They had their tickets after waiting 15 minutes in a line. While boarding the back of the crowded gondola they recognized the same three couples from the restaurant the night before.

world without wilds


Brush Fire, Edges Wild Series, Casselle Landi, Italy © Jim Korpi

In a world without wilds no coyotes howl in the front field. No raccoons dig under the garage door to get at the chicken feed. No snakes hide in the tall grass. No deer jump in the garden. No rabbits eat the herbs. No foxes eat the rabbits.

There are cats in the abandoned building sites. Pigeon shit breaks up the monotony of the cold stone streets. Fur coats are fashionable. Hunters place poison at the edges of fields to prevent domestic dogs from stealing the stocked pheasant they chase with shotguns and their own domestic dogs. Farmers lie poison on the paths of rodents who burrow by their crops. The deep ammonia smell of spread manure from feed lots opens the top of your nose and stays there until you shower with perfumed soap.

Every place you step feels overstepped, overrun, worn. No competition is left but that which exists among ourselves. The wild within us has been fenced in, locked up, bred out, or extinguished.

A wonderful life


Delivering Christmas Cookies to Neighbors, Athens, Ohio © Jim Korpi

“Isn’t it wonderful!
So many faces!
Mary did it, George!
Mary did it!
She told some people you were in trouble, and then they scattered all over town collecting money.
They didn’t ask any questions – just said: ‘If George is in trouble, count me in…” – It’s a Wonderful Life