(Jeff Eff’s Lily Pond Transit)
He declares hidden sets for me, pastel passage, same seat I have sat,
though different set of eyes, wondering where the spring, summer
and winter’s at. The hidden fires of fall have declined, flame without
smoke, though fire’s heart was born in stem, stalk and sprig in spring;
fall leaf and limb all flame, so cindered. Summer brazier on sunlit girl,
a sylph from diving board, who October wears a soft yellow sweater,
a skirt to match, who when the fire’s lit, thinks the fall’s the end of it.
Not sparks we hit, old ice houses in sheets of flame, wild sparks due
a mile away, heat enough for spring. Oh, yes, that’s it. Back to spring.
He thinks perhaps I see canoes slipping off pickerel-like from LeHavre
or New London’s watered pit, or a skater’s pond-wide whitened trail
on year’s first ice, twice black thunder leaping up the shore, and more,
the core of unheard music from olden noisy Odin’s Valkyrie with baton
underfoot, a blade honed by youth got on. Younger you and your crew
have followed arcs and marks leave visible the volts of thundering bolts.
Oh, Lily Pond’s never the same, takes aim for becoming done and gone
in seasonal’s phenomenon. Yet Jeff tells me what it is, how he recollects
his past from where he paints beside the pond, and mine, for all of that.
Tom: I’ve been thinking of collaborating. Take a peek at Qarrtsiluni. Perhaps a Lily Pond scene, our first common ground, might realize something nice.
Jeff: Let me see what I can develop. We’re on a short porch, submissions due by January 15th. Something of Lily Pond would be interesting. Let me see what comes.
Tom: I’ll keep a log of messages to support the effort, a piece of the submission. There’s free rein on the type of art. I wasn’t thinking of drawing you away from your work, but thought a pass at some graphic image or painting would do. It would take both sides of the coin to get what might be acceptable.
Jeff: I went to the pond yesterday, walking in from Central Street along the river, to get some reference material. Will continue to search and see what develops.
Tom: Much of what I remember is in the attached, “Diamond-faced Lily Pond.” When you have some time, take a look at it. Perhaps it’ll touch something in you.
Jeff: We share the same sentiments. Yesterday, as I walked past the river and the bridge no longer there, I remembered walking the woods to Billy Mitchell’s house or listening to highway traffic or staring at a winter evening’s sky. I tried to imagine my mother’s stories. The striking one is the Prentice boys saving her after a fall through the ice. I remember playing army with other kids, walking through after a football game, much later hiking to Martignetti Liquors and sharing a brew under the summer sky. I’ve watched the pond shrink and yet remain a treasure. Now I search for the right image for those thoughts.
Tom: (Saw Jeff’s pastel painting today, Lily Pond in fall colors, from below John Burns’s house. He will send me a pix. Lovely.)
Jeff: I shoot all my artwork with slide film, liking the way it captures images. Some background here: the painting was done in “en plein air” and is a pastel painting on watercolor board, toned to burnt sienna, of the area by the swing sets. I removed the houses in the background, trying for an original look. Rolling clouds were a challenge, occasionally blotting out the sun, playing havoc with the color scheme. This piece was created during the morning. The submission page doesn’t say what DPI or format the image should be. I’ve made this 300 dpi. The size of the piece is 7×9.
Tom: (Received email with the painting and was transported.)
Jeff: You’ve captured my thoughts, what I tried to catch in my painting, same seat, same scene, different but intertwined. I thought of trodden leaf, faded footsteps, seasons gone by, solitude, visiting old friends, sounds of hockey, plop of fishing lures, rustle of leaves, how we all eventually pass on, but still the seat and the place remain. I thought how you and I share a thread, tied together to this place. I thought of loneliness sitting there, like leaves lost from the trees. I think in many ways you’ve captured what I tried to capture. Different memories, different dreams, same place. I sit here grinning warmly, satisfied.