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Saturday, May 9, 2020

The World of Then, The World of Now

Original digital photograph

Then: I was younger and tried hard to make my bookstore a year-round business. I even bowed to pressure from locals to serve coffee every morning one winter when Barb’s Bakery was closed, hoping to disprove a former landlord’s advice, gleaned from personal experience: “The key to a seasonal business is to keep it seasonal.” 

Now: I’m older, still working and still dependent on my business income, but I’ve given myself permission for several years now to take “seasonal retirement” during the off-season.

Then: When I took the photograph at the top of this post, Woodruff Palmer owned the building, and I managed sales for his Painted Horse Gallery, along with running my bookstore. 

Now: With Clare Gengarelly as the building’s current owner, a wall separates her space from mine, and Dog Ears Books has its own entrance. Very slightly farther down the building than this photograph shows, next to my door, is the door of David’s Grath’s studio and gallery. 

Then: We undertook our occasional travels with light hearts and a sense of excitement. An annual September getaway to the Upper Peninsula took us back to familiar scenes that pleased year after year.

Now: In the time of coronavirus, as spring progresses across the land, we continue to shelter in place in our winter rental cabin, leery of taking the road home and with hearts heavy over the many divisions in our country.

Then: My photograph of the snowy scene on Waukazoo Street appeared only in digital form on my blog. 

Now: One of David’s cousins has had it reproduced for us on canvas, even after the printer made the cousin sign a form saying he would accept the results regardless of resolution. The printer didn't think the image was good enough to reproduce. Really! Who expects a clear image in a blizzard? This is perfect! And not as dark as it appears below -- sorry about that!

Photograph reproduced on canvas

Then: Our reality was a daily commute from home to village on icy, snowy, slippery roads. Spring came gradually, backsliding frequently but eventually settling into days of sun or rain. We could count on spring wildflowers in the woods, and we hoped no late frost killed cherry blossoms.

Cherry blossom
Altered orchard!

Mesquite blooms
Now: Our present reality is mountain scenery, birds at the feeder, quail coming for a morning drink at the water bar, mesquite forming almost solid green across the high desert floor. We follow the weather and other news from Northport and expect to be there again eventually but are unsure when that will be or what we can expect when we get there. 

Then: We looked forward to a summer of hard work, with a few weeks’ window of financial reward to get us through the next winter.

Now: It’s anyone’s guess what the future will bring. We do, however, draw on a rich store of memories.

Thank you, Jim!


BB-Idaho said...

Tough times: not many opportunities. Maybe an extended stay will provide a view of the Spring and early Summer of your remote area.
I hope so, for I enjoy your descriptions, thoughts and photos of
that unique environment. Be safe, take care...

P. J. Grath said...

Thanks, BB. We have never seen this much green in Arizona before. Many flowers are in bloom, and cactus blossoms are starting to come out. I'll have to post more of the cows and calves. They are so comforting! And this evening, finally, we had a very nice rainstorm: wind, rain, double rainbow, more rain, now dark with cool air. I would love to see a flash flood through the wash sometime. Don't want to get caught in and swept away by the flood, just want to see it. You take care, too.