We had gone to the seaside for a couple of days of play, and while we were waiting for dinner on the first evening I decided to make a photograph of Maggie. We walked out to a little patch of ground surrounded by pine trees, and while Maggie was standing there a loud CRAACKK sounded, and this huge branch came tumbling down right near where Maggie was standing.
As soon as she recovered from the surprise she began to do her old mime stuff with it, and began rolling it offstage like some huge elephant dung ball. She’s funny that girl.
We had packed the house for a May 1 departure back to Tuscany. We were nearly done with the last details when Maggie walked out the door with this little walking stick I had bought a few weeks before. Why I bought it I had no real idea, just that the stick itself seemed to have a kind of ‘character’ that I felt might make its way into a still life; slender, with a small, knobby head, and a lovely flexibility that made me want to do a little dance when I picked it up.
It’s the kind of stick that as soon as one takes it in hand a transformation occurs; turning one into a Chaplin, or Chevalier, or a dandy, a fencer, a hoofer… and Maggie was no different as she strutted out the door and did her little jig and spin for me. At moments like this one can see their intimates in a new light because the playfulness and theatrics are revealing in sudden and fresh ways. Although with Maggie I am fortunate to have a partner who is always ready to play, and so I see different characters quite often. Still, if there is no camera in hand the transformations are lost to time.
Maggie was a dancer in New York back in the 70’s. She is a natural mime, and is always open to whatever impulses the world sends her way. Walking with her has been an adventure for the last 25 years, since I never know what unexpected, playful gesture or move she’ll make. This day for example; bitterly cold, a mistral blowing, but out we went for a walk up and down the quiet streets of Bonnieux.
She is just as likely to jump up on a wall and walk it like a tightrope, as she is to spin around when a gust of wind spirals the leaves across the road and around her feet. She was 15 feet ahead of me when I saw her interacting with the tree, and so lost in play was she that I was able to slide up behind her without her knowing I was there and make a series of images which speak to me of the child still living inside the adult.
I am reminded that our loved ones are just as crazy as the rest of the world, and that intimacy is no excuse to not see them as separate and amazing.