• Sam Baker

Day 60 isolation

Scorpions and Cardinals


Two months more or less. Isolation. What a strange time. Anxiety and magic. Fear and uncertainty. A time when things fell apart. The old things- like in the TS Ellott poem Journey of the Magi-


“A cold coming we had of it,

Just the worst time of the year

For a journey, and such a long journey:

The ways deep and the weather sharp,

The very dead of winter.”

And the camels galled, sore-footed, refractory,

Lying down in the melting snow.

There were times we regretted

The summer palaces on slopes, the terraces,

And the silken girls bringing sherbet.

Then the camel men cursing and grumbling

And running away, and wanting their liquor and women,

And the night-fires going out, and the lack of shelters,

And the cities hostile and the towns unfriendly

And the villages dirty and charging high prices:

A hard time we had of it.


have fallen away. The new things are slowly coming into focus. And maybe like a light switch, the old will suddenly re assert itself. Or maybe not.


And really it is not like Elliot so much. But I love his language and wanted to throw it in someplace. The camel men cursing. The silken girls bringing sherbet. The camels with their sore feet.


Nope. not going to top that as far as language. You go TS.


Since my last show at the water rats in London (across from the always amazing British Library) and thank you Immy and Risa from the Green Note (and ps Dylan played his first UK show there in '62, and the Pogues and Oasis)- I am learning to isolate. Always with the invisible plague lurking. For me the plague is mostly on the internet except a couple of my friends who are very brave medical people. And the people at the grocery store, and the utility company, trash people , and well- a lot people who keep this machine rolling. They are all front line. I isolate for them and for the old and weak. And I am lucky enough to be able to do that.


Now it has infected the small town close to my isolation. 28 people in a very small town.


It comes. It comes. It comes. I am not a doctor but isolation and masks seem the best approach. Doing only essential work until transmission rate is well below one. Protecting and paying the essential workers a lot of money. Living this way until a vaccine arrives. or we have widespread reliable testing. We are not there yet. So it is mask for me and isolation. I am grateful that is the way I can be of service in these days. Keeping my pals on the medical front line safe. Keeping the old and vulnerable and essential as safe as we can.


For those of you who dont know, there is a theory called herd immunity. Herd immunity is having a herd of beautiful horses. A pack of horse killing hyenas circle. Hunting.

The old horses, the lame horses, the slow horses, and some of the young horses are caught and eaten by the hyenas. The fastest healthiest horses out run the hyenas and survive. After eating a lot of horses, the hyenas are fat, happy and never want to have another bite of horse. Done.


That is herd mentality. And since I am one of the older, slower horses, and since I know lots of older slower horses- I am not crazy about this idea.


Spring is relentless. That is my new day to day reality. The birds, the wildflowers, the prickly pear come regardless.


I have time. The greatest gift. I can be micro focused on what is within a few feet of me. The scorpion who stung me and instinctivly I squished it (or her or him). Then set up a portrait shoot. creepy but weirdly cool. i have never really looked at a scorpion:



But there she he it is. Tentacles, claws, stinger. all those legs. yikes! And he she it had a life. A family! A home (which unfortunately for her he it happens to be mine too). It gets complex pretty fast.


from wiki:


Scorpions are predatoryarachnidso f the order Scorpiones. They have eight legs[1]and are easily recognized by the pair of grasping pedipalps and the narrow, segmented tail, often carried in a characteristic forward curve over the back, ending with a venomousstinger. Scorpions range in size from 9 mm / 0.3 in. (Typhlochactas mitchelli) to 23 cm / 9 in. (Heterometrus swammerdami).[2]


Back to the point (if there every was one) is that the world turns. Things fall apart. Things come together. Those are my constructions. My story of the world. The world just keeps rolling.

Male cardinal at the feeder. Shot with a very fine Sigma 50mm 1.4 art lens on an old Nikon Camera with a Shure External mic to capture sound. Including the Bob White Quail.


My new life is scorpions and cardinals. They are both beautiful.


In their own way.


In my own way.


Beautiful.