Friday, August 7, 2015

On Common Ground

Depending on your point of view, a small town agricultural fair is either one of the saddest places on earth or one of the most joyful.

Aiming to win a ribbon for the largest zucchini in the garden might seem a cry for a little reward in the midst of a desperate life.

Swirling round and round on the Scrambler with kids holding Tootsie pops might seem a poor excuse for entertainment.

Dining on a meal of a corn dog, a hand-held turkey leg the size of . . . well, a turkey leg, with a funnel cake for dessert might seem more like a recipe for a heart attack than bon appetit.


All of this might be true . . . depending on your perspective. But I chose to revel in the glory of our local fair.

We went to the fair on Tuesday evening, half-price night. The line for admission was so long, I talked my Sweetie Pie into letting me get out and walk up the road a half mile or so to get there sooner.  He took care of the boring job of parking the car.  By the time he caught up to me, my camera and I were already making friends.
 
At the fair, every scene is a picture in the making.


And what struck me most was the feeling of complete acceptance, as if we were all on common ground.

On this beautiful summer night, as we strolled along, every person we met felt like an old friend. In these happy fair-goers we saw pieces of ourselves.

The young family with kids, playing every game along the fairway, hoping to win the coveted goldfish.


The siblings squished together by centrifugal force, so close in body and spirit, that sister stuck out her tongue to lick little brother’s head . . . I could hear him squeal YUCK.


The sweet little girl who really, really wanted to climb into the petting zoo cage with the goats. Her Mama told us stories of this fearless little one who dearly loves all animals.



Our connection to each other is often tenuous, strained by distance and time or old wounds and hurtful words.  And yet, we keep seeking each other . . . reaching out to find another soul who feels what we feel or at least will feel it with us.

 And on a beautiful summer night at dusk, if we are lucky, we spin and swing, side-by-side.

25 comments:

  1. your post brought back a flood of childhood memories...the local county fair was held in the small town where I grew up, all I had to do was walk up the hill about 4 blocks to get to the fairgrounds...all the joys you described and so wonderfully captured with your photos are vivid snapshots for me...the only one left out was the fireworks display at the conclusion of the fair's two week run, seen from my bedroom room window...

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    1. Amy, You've just described the most magical childhood memory . . . fireworks from your bedroom window and a fair just up the hill. Sounds like the seeds of your creative spirit where planted there in that small town.

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  2. You got some brilliant shots at the fair! I always find venues with sensory overload challenging for me and my camera but you did a fabulous job.

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    1. Oh, Dotti, you are so right. I deleted about 100 pictures . . . and found only this handful really spoke to my experience. But the good news . . . I had fun! It wasn't about getting the perfect shot, but simply about taking pictures for the joy of it. And in this venue, everyone wanted their picture taken!

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  3. the truth in these wise words of yours made me swoon:

    our connection to each other is often tenuous, strained by distance and time or old wounds and hurtful words. And yet, we keep seeking each other . . . reaching out to find another soul who feels what we feel or at least will feel it with us.

    & so did the photo that followed. all the photos, in fact. magic!!!

    And on a beautiful summer night at dusk, if we are lucky, we spin and swing, side-by-side.

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    1. miss polly, your way with words touches my heart like nothing has in a very long time. and I believe that what you say and write, reflect how you live. There seems to be this wonderful sincerity and wholeness in your approach to life. and, truly, I wish to imprint these qualities onto my own life.

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  4. I love going to fairs! Sometimes I wonder why as they are sometimes loud, crowded and it was long ago that I last enjoyed going on one of those whirly, spinning, vertigo inducing rides--but I think you summed up exactly why I like being at a fair. The black and white photo of the little girl melted my heart!!

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    1. I know what you mean, Roxanne. In order to really enjoy our fair, I have to slip back into my little-girl self, and embrace the sights and sounds, surrender. I could have taken pictures of that little girl all night long, she was so enthralled with the animals!

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  5. Gosh I know I have said this before but you are so Good! These just brought back memories of going to the fair when I was in CA. I also remember going on a day when it was half price. My kids loved it, but I also loved it. Love the images and the candid moments in people's lives having a ton of fun. As I said So Go.
    The one of the sister licking her brother is just priceless and the last one the composition spot on.

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  6. I agree with Roxanne--I loved fairs and carnivals as a kid, but as an adult, I can't ride the rides, I get tired quickly, they are noisy and sticky and often hot and the food is awful. But! I'm going to our fair tonight, even if I have to go by myself! I want kettle corn and cotton candy for supper! I want to ride the merry-go-round! Mostly I want to be with people having fun. I'll take pictures too but they won't hold a candle to yours. That girl licking her brother's head! Where else can we experience such delirium but the fair?

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    1. Candice, I hope you made it to the fair. Summer wouldn't be complete without a little kettle corn, cotton candy, or in my case, a funnel cake. I can't wait to see how you saw the fair - you always manage to capture the essence of childhood innocence - whether in words or pictures.

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  7. Priceless memories captured of a day at the fair. I love that last shot....everything about it is perfection...

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    1. Nancy, At first, I couldn't 'see' an image of the ferris wheel. And then I looked up and there it was - a simple silhouette. Thanks for your kind words!

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  8. Beautiful quintessential images of real America. Wonderful...and I especially love the fifth image...the tenderness in her hands...brings about so many emotions. And I so agree with you and love how you said this...a fair like this brings about the common ground amongst all of us. Love!

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    1. Robin, You find common ground in each adventure and every place you travel - simply because you are you - open and accepting. Love you!

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  9. What an optimistic post Donna ! It brought not only smiles on my face at every picture for the fun people enjoy at the fair but also brought me a feeling of happiness for the whole day…
    How these few pictures are eloquent and meaningful…
    Through your strong feeling of belonging to a community, being enjoying the same fun at the same moment…
    Through your wholehearted empathy for these happy children, these families who make you feel like belonging to one of them…
    Through this little girl with the goats who may have been you years ago…
    Through your eyes which see in the stranger a fellow, a friend...
    Through your heart which captures the simplest joys and sweetest childish candor……
    You know so well how to see the best sides of life in any event, any circumstance…

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    1. Odile, You see the best in me, and your tenderness is a priceless gift to me. When the world knocks me down and makes me doubt myself, you lift me up. thank you, thank you, thank you.

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  10. Donna, I haven't been to your blog for way too long...
    Your fair sounds and looks like our county fair. I used to go there every summer, but have stopped a couple years ago because it turned out to be very expensive (unfortunately) and it's always on the hottest days in the summer and I just can't take the heat that well anymore. However, I remember fondly visiting the crafts hall, checking out the photography section and the paintings of the kids. 4H was always one of my favorites, just watching the kids with their animals.
    Your photos show how nice it can be to visit the fair. I actually really love the small town feel of it!

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    1. Carola, I feel much the same way. At first, I wasn't sure about the fair - it's hot, it's crowded, it's a sensory overload, and the food is expensive. But, this year I went with a different perspective - looking for the fun in the fair-goers, actively searching out smiling people, young couples holding hands, kids squealing with delight. And that made all the difference . . . I had a really good time. Thank you for stopping by to visit - whenever you have the time is fine!

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  11. You've beautifully captured yet another slice of life, my friend! Nicely done!

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    1. Thank you, June. This was a lovely evening of seeing the best in people!

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  12. Donna, you discribed your local fair perfectly. Not only your fair, but my fair, and I sure lots of others also..your discriptions are spot on and your photo's tell their own story. You amaze and delight in all that you do and you cheer us up with your positive and wonderful outlook on life..and on all the places you go and see. I do subscribe to a few other blogs but when I see your name in the in-box, I save you for a time when I know I can sit quietly and enjoy.
    First off, let me same, I had a real trip down memory lane with the goldfish in the bag. When I was little we had a very small, local playground carnival and every year my brothers and I would win a goldfish by tossing a ping pong ball in the little goldfish bowl. The winner would get that fish in a plastic bag to take home. We no longer have that at our fair but when I saw your photo, it brought back all those special memories. Unfortunately, the gold fish never lived to long. I also loved the the little girl with the goats...all her beautiful hair framing her face in a wash of summer curls. Just lovely. I loved looking up at the flying swings and the ferris wheel, with a sky full of mystery as the sun seems about to set.
    You brought me to the fair with you...next time let's get some pink cotton candy....xo

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    1. Cheryl. Let me tell you, I'd come to your for a bag of good old-fashioned pink cotton candy! I'm so happy the hear that my pictures brought back sweet memories for you. My mother absolutely adored the State Fair when we were growing up. She played every game - and goldfish that live only one day were high on her list. She ate pork roll sandwiches and candy apples and kettle corn. And she loved the commercial building where they gave out lots of free stuff. Sweet memories for us both!

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  13. The fair was always the highlight of the summer when I was a kid. I went to ours last year on my own during the day with my camera. It still brings back the thrill of childhood.

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