On Norway Pond



It’s October 31st and I am taking a break from estate stuff in Kershaw, after breaking my right little toe for the ninth time in my life. It’s become, over time and eight previous breaks, pretty much a non-functioning member of my body, hanging there, already a little askew from many previously creative breaks before this most recent one occurred around 11:30am on Tuesday the 29th of October, late. Late for my little toe, as in its final form in this world. Hopefully speaking, that is. Now it seems to want to turn in any direction it wants, whenever it wants.


The Lure of Heddon, and River Fishing in the 1940’s and 1950’s


After a very fast and torrential storm came streaking through today around 6:40pm, catching me off guard while photographing some of Dad’s 1946-1952 vintage Heddon fishing lures on the old dock overhanging the pond here in Norway, South Carolina, near where his mother was born. These are beautiful old lures from his river fishing days, kept clasped for over 40 years within his original metal tackle box with risers, that box dating from the mid 1940’s. In spending the time shooting these relics from the past of my father, predating the relics of my own past, I was trying to create an image that spoke of his presence on this All Hallow’s Eve, a very ancient holiday from a world away geographically, and worlds apart from that which we perceive as “our” world today.

I walked out there barefooted [see foot notes above] in order to accomplish this task, taking pains to avoid the eight inch high mounds of fresh fire ant constructions, rocks, and on reaching the dock, any pipe or wooden posts which my already broken toe might leap out towards in order to commit ultimate suicide and depart from a body it evidently has a wish to depart from. Twice I traveled across the field of lawn, as I was about to do a shoot, and that takes gear, which normally without broken toe (and even the bones behind it evidently broken) in syncopation to the incident the other day with an errant falling particle board shelf, would have been just another 100 yard haul in two carries of gear. But then the sky turned, and then I turned at the sound of a sudden rush of wind and saw mist moving my way very fast—so fast that as I turned back to pick up the lures and place them back into the tackle box, the mist enveloped me in fast droplets moving parallel to the surface of the pond just below my feet, which had turned from placid, mirror-like olive green water to undulating brown and gold wavelets rippling shore-ward quickly.

My first hobble across the large field called a lawn between the farmhouse I’m staying in and this pond took long enough for the mist to turn to sheets of heavy downpour, soaking me to the bone in cold water which was just previously at about 2000 feet straight up and maybe 35 degrees angled to the east, where this little monster storm was coming from, to land here in Norway. By the time I made it back inside, puddles were forming under my feet from cold water doing what gravity requires, and a small path of puddles stretched from front door to bathroom, where my clothes were put into the sink, which was made to hold water such as these clothes had captured in the last four minutes.


Things we do in a storm


I then went out onto the porch wrapped in a wool blanket to watch this thing come barreling in. My Jeep was under the shed, and I was questioning my earlier decision to put it there, for the pines adjacent to this shed were whipping about overhead in the gusts, one of which had enough force to almost topple me on the second hobble back to the house. This was a ferocious, and amazingly fast little storm. I keep calling it little because within ten minutes the powerful gusts and the rain parallel to the ground it was straining to reach was crashing through the trees behind me and to the west, while the vacuum of it’s deep gray clouds to the east before me had turned to glimpses of sky broken by still fast-moving trailing clouds, caught in the draft of that storm.

A few hours later, the stars were out—clear and shining through a crystal sky, the air temp having dropped about 15 degrees, replete with dogs barking and baying about half mile away across the pond, then across fields, then across pine forest to the road beyond which bears the house these dogs live behind, had turned this Halloween night into somewhat of a Holmesian recollection of “The Hound of the Baskervilles.” So the iPhone was walked out onto the porch, placed onto the wooden rail to record this evening as the east coast turns into November. The sounds will be used in a podcast most likely edited in behind a voice track, and a little sliver of this day will be frozen in recorded time, a regurgitating loop of moments spanning a few hours across an ancient tradition of one particular midnight, made so by ancient peoples in a land far away.

I have just realized I’ve never seen a photograph of my father fishing, or hunting. Nor a photograph of Buddy, Dudley, or Lady—our three German Shorthair pointers over the years. In a family which loved photographs—and it’s dogs—it seems a very loud omission. Another mystery to delve into in the days to come…perhaps some of his hunting and fishing buddies were taking photos?

“Willis at Norway Pond,” digital photograph. Image Copyright 2019 Tom Ogburn, words All Rights Reserved.

Tom

Almost born on the hospital steps of Camden in a rush to be on time...