Brass Valley: The Fall of an American Industry

Brass Valley: The Fall of an American Industry
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Sunday, January 17, 2010

Sleigh Bell Harmonies


GUEST JOURNAL by Jane Roth: When I look at snow covered, 19th century homes and barns, I am reminded of Paul Gage (1850 - 1934) who was a successful harness maker in Washington Depot, CT. Along with designing and making straps and fittings for draft and pleasure animals, he also produced bells for winter sleighs. People knew which neighbor was arriving by the harmonic tones Mr. Gage designed. Join me in imagining Mr. Gage's symphonies.

PHOTOGRAPHER'S JOURNAL: I took this photo last winter in the early morning of March 9th. When Jane saw it she wrote the journal entry above. Unfortunately, nobody else we knew was enjoying winter on March 9th, and it seemed downright unfriendly to post this then.

We've just come through a week of bitterly cold, windy dry air and a three day, above-freezing reprieve. As good as it felt to stand and photograph with the sun on my back, the same sun melted the wind-blown snow into a scrappy, gray mess. As I write I hear the chatter of white crystals blowing agains the windows. There's a nor'easter due, and I'm hoping that tomorrow morning I will be standing in a field somewhere enjoying sleigh bell weather again.