Cow with Wires

Cow with Wires | Mansfield, WA | March 2020

After a year of daily postings, IrwinFoto365 ends with this image and my sincere thanks for clicking here everyday.

My college photo instructor always advised, “When in doubt, shoot the cow.” He believed cows were kindhearted creatures beloved by everyone. So if we happened across a bovine — no matter where, no matter when — we should photograph it without hesitation.

That sort of explains this final photo in a year-long project to show you where I go, how I see and, for better or worse, what I think. Together we covered a lot of the big, wide world (botany, geology, ornithology, meteorology, just plain weirdology), but also looked closely at what’s right in front of us (art, bugs, dogs, toes, food, flowers, and even a few people).

Your comments were mostly encouraging, and for those I’m grateful. Some were more, um, constructive: “What the hell’s this supposed to be?” or “Does every damn thing have to teach a damn lesson?”

All in all, I learned much from my wandering. For instance, five hours in Republic’s shale beds may result in split fingernails but no fossils. Some of the state’s most authentic Cajun cuisine is found at Richland’s small airport (Ann’s Best Creole & Soul Food). And a truck can sink up to its axles on dirt tracks that look solid but aren’t.

Mostly, I discovered aspects of the intangible — that beauty blooms where least expected, that the universe’s patterns soothe my soul, that patience eventually reveals Mystery. Sit and stare long enough at that rock and you’ll begin to sense the Grand Design, which might include a sore butt.

In regards to photo projects, many of you have asked: “What’s next?” I can say with absolute certainty that I haven’t the slightest idea. I like to drive around. I like to stop and take pictures. I like to think long and write short — it helps me to know what I know. So I’ll ponder it all for a month or two and see what emerges.

Again, your interest in this blog has been much appreciated. Your encouragement, along with a full tank of gas, helped fuel my travels along cow country’s dusty roads. I went to see what I could see and then, every morning, eagerly shared it with you. Thanks!

[In photo: A cow grazes under power lines lit by the setting sun.]