August 30, 2016

The Morning After

The Morning After 
By John R. Greenwood

"The Morning After" 

It's 4am the morning after the Washington County Fair 2016 has come to an end. There are a few signs of life in a place that a few hours earlier was filled to the brim with dusty children and weary parents with empty pockets and sore feet. Another county fair ends as quickly as it arrived. Sweet corn season is peaking and carved pumpkins are rolling around the bend. 

"Two old friends share an August sunrise" 

I was here to pick up the last milking of fair week. The cows were all back home in their own barns enjoying more familiar surroundings. The farmers while enjoying the weeks festivities have a weeks worth of work to catch up on. The kids were still suffering from too much cotton candy. Some were bugging mom for a spot to display their blue ribbons and stuffed animals. A few rare birds were anxious for school to start.

Reserved Seating 

 After the milk tank was emptied and my truck was buttoned up I took a minute to walk around and click a picture or two. I enjoy taking night photos in quiet settings with varied lighting. What could fit that criteria better than a fairground the morning after? 

Table For Two Hundred 

I have an affinity for picnic tables of all persuasions. I'm particularly drawn to green painted and sliver filled weathered ones. I encourage anything that brings people close together and face to face. 

Hear the kids?

This scene called for the simplicity of black and white. The vacant judging arena was now silent. I sat at one of the tables and recreated the events that took place there over the last five days. It didn't matter that I wasn't there in the flesh. I could hear children of all ages, in all tones, at all levels, talking, yelling, and crying. Little ones in strollers sucking on bottles, midsize ones tugging on mom's arm begging for one more handful of money, teenagers whispering to each other, making plans to escape to the opposite end of the fair to sneak a cigarette. It was all so vivid at 4am. I was grateful to have lived in a place where county fairs surrounded me and I had enough neighbors and friends who were kind enough to bring me along. While my father lived to take me trout fishing I don't recall ever going to a fair with my parents. He hated crowds I guess. As I savor the serenity of the morning void of people, I realize maybe the apple didn't fall so far from the tree after all. 

Stillness Of Light 
As I scanned my surroundings one of the empty barns caught my eye. There was a calmness oozing out of it. Dry hay and bright lights created a unique texture that fit the stillness of dawn perfectly. I wanted to end my work day right then and go sit in a folding chair in the middle of that barn.

It was time to get the milk back to the Plant. As I drove out through the maze of campers, trailers, empty barns and folded up rides I tried to freeze frame the images in my head. One more fair to go I thought--just down the river in Schaghticoke. I'd be picking up milk there in a few days. I better get my camera on the charger.


  1. Thank you so much for sharing your beautiful pictures and thoughtful comments. It's like being invited along for a peek 'back stage', all the more special for the poignancy of a new day beginning as all the memories made during the fair days are wrapped up for another year.

  2. I'm truly mesmerized - you've captured something special!

  3. Came by to check on you... You need to start writing ;)

  4. I'm just catching up on my favourite blogs after a hectic late summer and early autumn of travel and obligations.

    And as much as I hate to use it, "Wow!" is all that I thought after finishing your post which vividly brought back the smells, crowds and thrills of my childhood.

    My parents took my sister and I to many fairs and one of them, the Hillsdale County Fair in Michigan, was an excuse for family to gather at the house of my Dad's aunt. Aunt Emily was a retired, no-nonsense school teacher with a great love of family and our mutual history.

    I vividly remember waking up in the double bed above the kitchen with my sister and I entwined in the centre of the sagging mattress which had not been replace since the 19th century.

    The local salt-rising bread smelled perfect awful as it was toasted, but tasted very good!

  5. Where have you gone, John? I miss you.