The Field - The Brandegee Blog

Ramblings on Crafting Useable Art (and other things that I find interesting)

The Field
Posted on April 25, 2013

Bob Willison, our great friend and caretaker of our country cabin, was a strong guy, an inch or so taller than my six feet, a difference that stayed about the same as age diminished our statures.  Like me, he liked to point out that his loss of height was compensated for by an increase in foot length and shoe size.  But, even in the months before he died, fighting the lung cancer to his last breath, he lifted some objects heavier than what I could have in my youth.  Part of that was his sense of balance and knowing how to lift.

One of our last adventures with Bob started with Ada and me squeezed across the front seat of Bob’s pickup heading for a destination he would not reveal ahead of time.  We set out on an early September afternoon, drove a half hour north from the cabin, turned east and past Bedford by a few miles before turning south toward Bob’s target.  Bob then mentioned Rainsburg, a village no more than 10 miles from the cabin as the crow flies, but since there’s no East-West track across the Wills mountain range for the 50 miles between Bedford, PA at the north and Cumberland, MD at the south, our circuitous route was optimal for ground travel.  I fleetingly thought he might be showing us the dozen or so 18th and early 19th century houses that crowd the road along Rainsburg’s center, but quickly realized the unlikelihood of that.  Like many country folk, he wasn’t interested in antiques or worn and weathered buildings.  Newer things with polish were more to his liking.

Suddenly, shockingly, we saw what we had come for.  It was a field of sunflowers in full bloom.  Up close each had a stiff stem lifting its blossom six feet off the ground, brown stamen center swirling outward to the assertive loops of deep yellow petals.  But stepping back, to see a lush quarter mile wide swath stretching to the shadows of the mountains in the distance, it was a whole different experience.

We walked and looked as the sun settled on that horizon.  When Bob later asked “Was it worth the drive?”  We just smiled and hugged him.

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