Under the Ash Tree

by Alden Cole on January 18, 2013 · 0 comments

UnderTheAshTreeaka Inside, Looking Out #16 

oil on plywood panel – 20″ x 25″ – framed with antique window sash

Visiting the old home place in Dayton as a guest of my brother Clark and sister-in-law Georgie over the 4th of July holidays 2012, I arrived just in time to watch the haying of 60-plus acres of fields surrounding the farm. June had been a particularly wet month, non-conducive to the process of haying, which requires a number of dry sunny days in a row for the mowing, teddering and baling of the hay. The timothy was thigh-high, waiting for first crop when I arrived. It was still there a few days later when I sat down to paint the view looking south from the front yard, sitting under a spreading ash tree on the lawn. Sunny, delightfully warm, a lovely spot in the shade – what delight! As I commenced painting, a team of tractor-mowers commenced haying the field 90 degrees to the right from my painting’s field of vision, across the road from where I sat. And they were working fast. As soon as I realized that the field I had just sat down to portray was next to be shorn, I hopped to it. In the two hours plus that I sat there painting, the tractor team leveled the field across the road and crossed into the field seen in the painting above. They were headed my way; by the time I put on the finishing touches the mowers had lopped off the foreground grasses seen in the painting, and were coming around again to widen that swath of new-mown hay. What a smell! GREENness in all its glory. I wound up adding a few details from memory. It was quite the transformation from an amber sea of ripe leaves-of-grass to one of coarse stubble covered with now-horizontal shafts of former-life-once-tipped-with-golden-light.

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