R.S. Williams

All I want is to get the words right.

Tag: Photography (page 2 of 49)

Caturday: 2/17/18

“Seal-Point Cat with Blue Eyes”
Heard County, Georgia – 6 February 2018
Model: Yoda

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Friday Photo: 2/16/18

“Morning Dew, Taylor House”
Rabun County, Georgia – 27 September 2017

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Wednesday Photo: 2/14/18

“Pink Heart in the Gutter”
LaGrange, Georgia – 17 February 2017

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Hillside Monday: 2/12/18

“Still Life in Shadows”
LaGrange, Georgia – 14 January 2018

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Caturday: 2/10/18

“Orange Cat with Dresser and Wall”
LaGrange, Georgia – 31 January 2017
Model: Hunter

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Friday Photo: 2/9/18

“The Bench Crows Know”
Rabun County, Georgia – 26 September 2017

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The Little Peach Tree That Could

In the mid-1930s, my great-grandfather planted this dwarf peach tree in the side yard of his house in southwestern Heard County, Georgia. By the mid-1950s, when my mother was old enough to remember the family’s yearly trips down from Michigan, the tree bore heavy yields every summer.

Pap would slice up quart after quart of fresh peaches, from which he and Grandma Edith would make ice cream in an old crank-handle freezer. It was the finest she had ever tasted, Mom would say years later. When she first moved south in 1968, Mom lived with Pap and Grandma while she saved up for her own apartment in LaGrange. Entering its fourth decade, the little peach tree was still producing as many peaches as the three of them could eat (read: a lot).

In 1988, Mom moved back to Heard County and began fixing up the old home place. By that time, the tree was just about dead. Sap ran sticky amber-brown from the peach borer holes along its trunk. Ice storms had broken off about half its branches. The other half, fiercely proud and unwilling to admit defeat, struggled to stay even halfway upright.

The kind thing to do, Mom supposed, would be to cut it down. No sense in letting it suffer. It had served its purpose for many years. Now it was time to plant something new.

But the saw stayed in the shed.  Mom couldn’t stand to cut down the beleaguered little peach tree while it was still half-alive, or even a quarter alive. “When it’s finally dead, I’ll cut it,” she kept saying. “In the meantime, we’ll just mow around it.”

Which she did—very carefully, with a rickety push-mower and a pair of yard shears. Mom mulched it. She sprayed it for insects and fungus. She watered it during droughts, and pruned away the branches split by the weight of snow and ice. For a dying tree, this one sure was getting a lot of care.

Year after year, the little tree hung on. Every spring, the familiar pink blossoms appeared. By early summer, fuzzy green baby peaches the size of jelly beans dotted the branches. By July 4th, the baby peaches would lie rotting on the ground, felled by some fungus or insect predator. At least the fire ants and yellow jackets were eating well.

For almost 20 years, we had hoped for peaches. For almost 20 years, we had none. I began to accept that peaches, as much as I wanted them, were just not going to happen.

Fast forward to 2003: a warm spring day at the old home place. My mother and stepfather had almost finished rebuilding the long-collapsed front porch. Useless with a hammer but still wanting to be part of the action, I stood nearby.

“Uh, Mom?” I said. “It’s about your little tree.”

“I know, I know.” She mopped the sweat from her brow and grabbed another fistful of 16-penny nails. “I’m giving it one more chance. If it doesn’t make fruit this year, it’s coming down.”

So the spring turned into summer, and the blossoms turned into fuzzy green baby peaches. But this time, the baby peaches stayed on the tree. And grew. And grew. And ripened.

For the first time in nearly 40 years, we had peaches.

I felt awful for having hoped we could cut down the elderly peach tree. I had doubted it, and it had come back—perhaps to prove us wrong, but more likely because that’s just what trees do. This lonely, gnarled little tree suddenly bore two bushels of peaches just because it could.

That summer, we had the best homemade peach ice cream and the best homemade peach cobbler I have ever tasted. Since then, the tree has managed to produce at least a few desserts’ worth of fruit every season. It has survived nearly a century of drought, disease, ice storms, and straight-line winds—and, one time, a sweet, hungry, clumsy 2,800-pound Black Angus bull. This beloved little tree refuses to quit.

What will this year bring? We don’t yet know. The peach tree probably doesn’t yet know, either. No matter what happens, though, I will always be grateful to it for showing me what endurance really means.

Photo: “Green Peach, Black Cat” (Heard County, Georgia – 27 May 2014)

© R.S. Williams (all rights reserved)


Wednesday Photo: 2/7/18

“Time for Another Refill”
Waffle House #646
LaGrange, Georgia – 24 April 2015

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Roadside Valentine No. 330

Troup County, Georgia – 4 August 2012
One in a series of photos from “Roadside Valentine,” 14 February 2013.

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Hillside Monday: 2/5/18

“Cat Silhouette, Window, and Wall”
LaGrange, Georgia – 24 September 2015
Model: Miller

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Caturday: 2/3/18

“Feline Study in Orange and Black”
LaGrange, Georgia – 13 September 2015
Models: Sherwin (left) and Miller

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“I Remember Country Music” t-shirt courtesy of Standard Deluxe

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Friday Photo: 2/2/18

“Old Gravestone in Shades of Marble”
Heard County, Georgia – 30 June 2015

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Wednesday Photo: 1/31/18

“In a Parking Lot at Dusk”
LaGrange, Georgia – 3 September 2015

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Hillside Monday: 1/29/18

“Spider Lily, Early Autumn”
LaGrange, Georgia – 16 September 2017

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Caturday: 1/27/18

“Two Cats with Old Vinyl Floor”
LaGrange, Georgia – 22 July 2015
Models: Lucinda (foreground) and Buddy

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Friday Photo: 1/26/18

“Plenty of Half-and-Half”
Waffle House #614
Marietta, Georgia – 15 July 2017

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Wednesday Photo: 1/24/18

“Waiting on a Train, Part 18”
Anniston, Alabama – 12 August 2017

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New work in Eyedrum Periodically!

I’m delighted to announce that Eyedrum Periodically has published two of my photos in their latest, Issue 17: The Future.  And, holy moly, y’all: They liked one of those photos so much that they put it on the cover.  (Click the link above to see “As I Fall Where I Stand in the Street” and “Looking into a Future I Cannot Name” along with the great writing and art in Issue 17.)  Thank you again to editors Bryant O’Hara and Alice Gordon for this wonderful opportunity!

Photo: Self-Portrait by Kitchen Door (LaGrange, Georgia – 22 April 2015)
“Writing well is the best revenge” t-shirt © Eden M. Kennedy

© R.S. Williams (all rights reserved)


Hillside Monday: 1/22/18

People seem surprised at how many species of wild birds make their home in Hillside’s trees. Unlike some neighborhoods, Hillside features relatively large wooded areas full of mature oaks, pines, hickories, and poplars. These areas—a few of which cover entire city blocks—are perfect for owls, hawks, and woodpeckers, to name just a few birds I’ve seen around here.

I spent a delightful hour browsing The Feather Atlas, courtesy of the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. I’m still not sure about this feather. It could be from a nighthawk. Or a downy woodpecker. Or a red-bellied woodpecker. Or a yellow-bellied sapsucker. I need more coffee.

“This Feather Is Mocking Me”
LaGrange, Georgia – 17 November 2015

© R.S. Williams (all rights reserved)


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