R.S. Williams

All I want is to get the words right.

Author: R.S. Williams (page 1 of 61)

Caturday: 4/21/18

“Black Cat on Counter”
LaGrange, Georgia – 26 August 2016
Model: Miller

© R.S. Williams (all rights reserved)

 

Friday Photo: 4/20/18

“Glass on Fire”
Denver Botanic Gardens
Denver, Colorado – 10 August 2014

© R.S. Williams (all rights reserved)

 

Reunion in Brass and Mother-of-Pearl

Twenty-five years have passed since we last met. Strange, because it seems like just yesterday when we waved goodbye. She looked a little sad, but assured me that she’d be around whenever I needed her. No worries. She’d be right where I left her. And she meant it.

Even as she approaches her 74th birthday, she’s still radiant. Her voice remains strong and smoky. She hasn’t grown gaunt with age, as some of us do, but still weighs in at a hefty, healthy 20 pounds. She’s never been ashamed of her worn lacquer, her scratches,  her oft-repaired and dangerously thin brass. Don’t make the mistake of suggesting to her that those are flaws to be camouflaged and hidden away. Oh, no. She won’t hear of it. Those “wrinkles” mean she’s been places. She’s seen things. She has loved and been loved—and she will continue to love. She has lived fully and deeply, as most of us never will.

Does she ever think of France? Does she long for that little factory south of Paris where she came into the world, where one of Monsieur Noblet’s craftsmen  stamped “9346” in the small of her bell seam? Whenever I ask, she changes the subject.

She’d rather talk about the Rubank exercises that we both hated at first but quickly grew to love, or that grueling Dvoràk piece we aced in the winter of 1993. She gets excited when I suggest we try “Night Train” again, and pushes for a dirty, raunchy, uptempo “gut-bucket” version. She wonders why I still haven’t bought the Dukoff 10* metal mouthpiece that I wouldn’t shut up about all those years ago.

Is she protecting me? Or herself?

It doesn’t matter. She kept her decades-old promise: I needed her, and there she was. Or, rather, here she is, as patient and solid and accepting as ever. As I slowly rebuild my wind and dexterity,  she stays with me. She picks up where we left off, telling her story and mine in that steady, husky tenor—singing every note with longing, and with love.

© R. S. Williams (all rights reserved)

NOTE: I first posted this piece on 16 March 2015. It appears here today with revisions.

 

Wednesday Photo: 4/18/18

“Lily Pads with Black Pond”
Denver Botanic Gardens
Denver, Colorado – 10 August 2014

© R.S. Williams (all rights reserved)

 

Driving Home from Jonesboro, Arkansas

There are few experiences more peaceful, or more satisfying, than driving 500 miles home past rail yards and ports and farmland.

Northeastern Arkansas feels a lot like southern Georgia. It’s flat and swampy, yet fertile. In the fields on both sides of most every highway, massive sprinkler systems on wheels sleep, biding their time before the summer drought. Unlike southern Georgia, though, I saw no Arkansas cattle egrets carpeting either moos or soybean fields. Nor did I swat at gnats every other breath, like I never got used to doing when I was a kid visiting my aunt in Sylvester or Ashburn or Tifton.

There’s a spare, half-wild, desperate natural beauty there. It’s same kind of beauty that an artist friend once said makes southern Georgia “the most beautiful, desolate, forsaken place on earth—praise God.”

Watching the storm as I drove was frightening and sublime. The sky turned an unnerving shade of pinkish-green. Outside Memphis, I saw five bolts of lightning hit the ground at once. A little further up the road, I drove across both Hell Creek and the Tallahatchie Bridge. No Billy Joe McAllister, though.

Between Tyronza (pop. 762) and Jonesboro, the shoulder of the access road along Interstate 555 was on fire: three triangular-shaped patches of grass ablaze at dusk. Maybe it was the lightning from the storm. Maybe it was an alien spacecraft landing mishap. In this wide, semi-sandy, rural dream world, anything seems possible.

West of Marked Tree, Arkansas, railroad tracks parallel US Highway 63. I raced a long, long BNSF, the kind that requires four big orange locomotive engines, into town. Outrunning a train in a Honda Civic feels wrong.

The soil in Arkansas is unlike any I’ve seen. Sandy tan on top, with newly plowed furrows of deep coffee brown. Near Lepanto, a huge John Deere cut S-shaped disc rows into a fallow field every 100 feet. In other fields, brilliant yellow-flowering cover crops stretched for hundreds of acres on either side of the highway.

Outside Maumelle, a large squirrel darted across a rain-beaten furrowed sandy field. “What are you doing? Trying to get picked up by a hawk?” I said to the silence in the car. Three hundred feet across the same field, a Rottweiler mix trotted along with a limp brown broken creature in its mouth. The little brown tail flopped to the beat of the dog’s proud steps.

From Jonesboro to the Mississippi River, red-winged blackbirds swooped from fence post to fence post. Little red-and-yellow epaulets on little daredevil black birds—flash-flash-flash, swoop-swoop-swoop, waving me home-home-home.

© R.S. Williams (all rights reserved)

 

 

Hillside Monday: 4/16/18

“Silhouette with Turquoise and Brick”
LaGrange, Georgia – 29 April 2017

© R.S. Williams (all rights reserved)

 

Caturday: 4/14/18

“Ghost of the Cat I Could Have Been”
LaGrange, Georgia – 26 August 2016
Model: Hank

© R.S. Williams (all rights reserved)

 

Friday Photo: 4/13/18

“Behind Cascading Locks”
Heard County, Georgia – 7 December 2015

© R.S. Williams (all rights reserved)

 

Statler and Waldorf vs. Milton Berle

When The Muppet Show was in production, I was a small child. Now that I’m an adult, I appreciate the show even more. The writers include humor for everyone.

Here’s one of my favorite clips. Statler and Waldorf, the cantankerous, heckling old farts in the balcony of the Muppet Theater, finally get the best of comedy legend Milton Berle.

Wednesday Photo: 4/11/18

“Mother Church Windows”
Ryman Auditorium
Nashville, Tennessee – 16 September 2015

© R.S. Williams (all rights reserved)

 

Hillside Monday: 4/9/18

“After Work”
LaGrange, Georgia – 24 October 2014

© R.S. Williams (all rights reserved)

 

Caturday: 4/7/18

“Tabby Cat with Wall and Chair, Part 2”
LaGrange, Georgia – 11 August 2016
Model: Buddy

© R.S. Williams (all rights reserved)

 

Friday Photo: 4/6/18

“Technicolor Floodwaters”
Heard County, Georgia – 24 February 2016

© R.S. Williams (all rights reserved)

 

Wednesday Photo: 4/4/18

“Reflections in the Ladies’ Room”
Denver, Colorado – 9 November 2015

© R.S. Williams (all rights reserved)

 

Ardea

At water’s edge, my Fisher King, you stand
flightless, crippled. Slender faithful guard
of fen, of heart, of glorious
sooty blushing riotous raiment—
crumpled, bruised, proud.

Your birthright: motionless swift grace.
Your feathers: hopeless sacred spikes.
Your offering: flawless imperfect blessing.

Demolished and whole,
fractured and healed,
shattered and safe—O great God,
that every hurt could mend,
that you could fly.

Fly from me, beautiful broken one.
Take my breath with you.

© R.S. Williams (all rights reserved)

 

Thanks to my patrons!

The following people ROCK!

Amanda Guyton
Bill Brown

Allison Fix
Kweilin Wilson
Lisa McGovern
Kelley Frank
Ali Lauer
Grayson Hugh
Nicole McLaughlin
Emily Katzenstein
Crystal Woods
Syd Mooney
Kit Ketcham
Cheryl Lougen
Scott Johnson
Kenny Gray
El Queso
Luann
Val Williams
Gina Adamson-Taylor
Steve Taylor
T. Westgate

Thanks again, y’all!

These folks’ monthly contributions help me produce more of the work they enjoy. You, too, can help support my work. Even $1 a month earns you special patrons-only content. Click here for details.

Photo: “Summer Self-Portrait in Back Yard No. 1” (July 2015)

 

Hillside Monday: 4/2/18

“Ur Ring, I Nomz It”
LaGrange, Georgia – 31 August 2014
Model: Davy (aka Hook)

© R.S. Williams (all rights reserved)

 

Happy Easter 2018

“Easter Hat with Methodist Clubhouse Door”
Glenn, Georgia – 3 April 2015

© R.S. Williams (all rights reserved)

 

Caturday: 3/31/18

“Tabby Cat with Laundry Basket”
LaGrange, Georgia – 25 August 2016
Model: Hank

© R.S. Williams (all rights reserved)

 

Friday Photo: 3/30/18

“Church Sign, Centralhatchee”
Heard County, Georgia – 24 February 2016

© R. S. Williams (all rights reserved)

 

Older posts

© 2018 R.S. Williams

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑