Kitten Follows Mother

By Michael Lachance

I have been thinking more and more about art in my life and the special appeal photography has for me, especially black and white images. We are assaulted daily with media and the volume can obscure the potential beauty of a simple, isolated image. Some photographs succeed as record of a special moment in time. My looking at photography is a good means to gain a bit of mindfulness in an otherwise jumbled calendar.

I like to quickly look at collections of photographs and bookmark those which arrest my attention. I then return to each photo and study it further, challenging myself to articulate what it is that causes me to prefer it above others. It may be noteworthy in its composition or the attraction to pattern or texture. It may also appeal to me as an example of allegory, something I am always looking for.

I enjoy the process of describing in words photographs I am drawn to. It is a challenge to articulate what a photograph possesses that gives it a special appeal. I do this for images made by accomplished photographers as well as those taken by me.


Kitten Follows Mother, Annandale, NJ. Walter Chandoha, 1962


I like how this image is horizontally split, the way the foreground comes out toward you and the screening as background, suggesting a matrix through which we pass.

Our yellow cat Oskar is aging and beginning to show signs of decline. He is allowed in the house for morning feeding and can rest for short periods of time on the couch each evening while we watch a film together. He is no longer staying indoors through the night as he doesn’t understand how to use a litterbox. He remains in great physical shape but his mind is failing, an ominous potent as I consider what my reward for a long life might be. I can look at the cat and remember when we found him on our country road many years ago, the same size as the kitten in the photograph but starving and covered in fleas. Does he still retain a memory of walking behind his mother? Do I?

As I write: It is a spring morning and I am at my home near Rockfish Depot. I will be soon going to work. Outside, buds are swelling everywhere but only crocuses are in bloom. I look up and out my front window. A cluster of Tibetan Buddhist monks are walking up the road, their deep red robes looking beautiful in the morning light. I think about my good fortune to have their retreat center on Willoughby Mountain just up the road.




Michael Lachance has been   a Virginia Cooperative Extension agent for the past 25 years, working with farmers from his office in Nelson County. He is a beekeeper, fruit enthusiast, and enjoys collecting insects associated with both agriculture and undisturbed habitats. His interests in  insects, conservation,  and biological control of crop pests have taken him on assignments about Virginia, Belize, Bangladesh, Egypt, and most recently, Tajikistan. He lives near Rockfish Depot, Virginia.





Art Unveiled in Nelson County


Normandy Beach-3
Normandy Beach sculpture by Anne Ferrer


If Normandy Beach strollers were surprised by Anne Ferrer’s frolicking balloon sculpture, imagine guests’ anticipation for this year’s Virginia Center for the Creative Arts’ multi-media arts installation. Composites — a collaborative work by French visual artist Ferrer and American composer John Nichols III — will be unveiled Saturday May 14th at Pharsalia in Tyro, Virginia. The site-specific work will combine inflatable flower shaped modules with sound and performance.

The VCCA’s annual Commission by former Fellows will be on display for one night only. M. Michel Charbonnier, Consul General de France a Washington, will be the evening’s honored guest. A farm dinner will be served to the tunes of The Duke Merrick Band.

For further information, contact or phone 434.946.7236.

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