Archive for nelson farm damage

Cabinwood revisited.

Posted in Murfeesboro Tornado, Personal with tags , , , , , , , , on December 29, 2009 by brettvanort

These were taken a while ago.  The very end of September to be exact.  I’ve been neglecting quite a bit of late, wrapped up with the exhibition my final project and everything, I’ve nearly forgotten about certain photographs I took this summer.  Now that the exhibition is hung and on the wall, I want to revisit the other projects I pursued this summer.  Hopi, Rest Areas, whatever else I managed to cram in, I’m focusing on that while I’m also trying to hustle for work.  I figure I will have enough to keep me occupied for a little while.

One last look before it would be gone.

I’ll start with a couple from Cabinwood.  The day after I took these the house was to be leveled completely, the logs were to be sold off for a total of $3000 I’ve heard.  It’s a shame but there is not a lot that can be done.  What’s interesting is the guy that will be removing the logs will also set up a deer blind on the property and pay our family $500 for every deer he bags with a bow and arrow.  While I was there, there were deer everywhere.  I counted 7 or 8 at one point while I was trudging around at dusk with my camera.

You can see two deer to the left of the creek bank middle frame. The others scampered away.

I felt I little more at ease this visit.  The shock of seeing what used to be so heavily canopied not open to the sky was the strangest thing at this point.  The above photograph would have been just a green and brown thicket with no sky prior to the tornado.  I’ve decided that on every visit I will shoot from the same spots and see how the land transforms slowly back to a forest.  Will it take 20 years?  30?  50?  Will I ever see it the same way that it is in my mind when I recall it?  It brings up a host of questions about memory and how it relates to photography, and memory and how it relates to landscape.

There used to be a hedgerow here.


Murfreesboro revisited

Posted in Murfeesboro Tornado, Personal with tags , , , , , , on May 15, 2009 by brettvanort

Got back from Murfreesboro two days ago.  I was there for too short a period of time.  I arrived on Friday late and left on a Tuesday early and got back to London on Wednesday early.  I’m still a bit jet lagged and yesterday morning I woke up and couldn’t tell if I was in Nashville, London, a plane or all three at one time.

Seeing Cabinwood really was like a kick in the stomach.  Pictures really can’t do justice to what happened.  I wasn’t exactly prepared for how I would feel, what it would look like, how I would react to seeing the rest of my family there.  Thank God the Nelson’s have a wacky sense of humor.  Everyone seems to be taking it in stride and dealing with the reality of the situation rather well.

Looking downstream at the creek that runs through Cabinwood.

Looking downstream at the creek that runs through Cabinwood.

Elle at Creek before after

Eleanor had to stay in London.

The photographs on the right are of course what things look like today.  I couldn’t get the exact framing of any of these shots as the water level is so high.  They’ve had an awfully wet May in Tennessee but I think you get an idea of the tree cover that was lost.The hay bales were stacked by the city to prevent erosion.  There were many damns created in the creek by the tree debris that gathered in spots.  There was a sense of openness created by the lack of trees.  It was a strange feeling, to see the sky in this world that is usually so densely forested in my mind.  I’ve never been to Brazil, but I felt the sense that I was on the outskirts of a rain forest that had just been logged.  I kept trying to remember distinct trees when I looked at the stumps remaining.

A logger told Johnny this was the biggest Eastern Cedar he'd ever seen.

A logger told Johnny this was the biggest Eastern Cedar he'd ever seen.

But I couldn’t remember singular trees.  This cedar is a great example of what I mean.  If someone that makes their living off of trees says that this could be the largest specimen he’s ever seen of this particular tree then it surely must have made an impression on me.  I was aware in all my journeys to Cabinwood how great the place was in its natural setting.  But I couldn’t grasp what these trees looked like singularly.  I could only precieve the trees as a collective.  It might seem a simple idea, why would I know one tree from another?  There isn’t really a reason why I should.  But I found it strange how I could only think of the trees, and the farm as their collective whole and not individual parts.  I guess it gives a whole new meaning to the saying seeing the forest for (through) the trees.

Cabinwood Aerial

Posted in Murfeesboro Tornado, Personal with tags , , , , on April 15, 2009 by brettvanort

Got another photo of Cabinwood to show.  This time it’s an aerial of the damage.  It comes from Betsy Clark again but was taken by whom she and my mom to be the Representative to the area from Washington.  I guess he was doing a flyover of the damage to Murfreesboro and either he or one of his staff took this photo.Aerial CabinwoodFor those of you not familiar with Cabinwood and even those that are the photo may not make sense geographically.  My uncle Harry’s house is the one top right with the blue tarp on the top.  The main house, the log cabin is next to the lane that turns in on itself.  There is a swimming pool behind that.  What is left of the barn is at the bottom of the photo.  What was left inside of it is now strewn everywhere outside of it.  The creek is visible to the bottom and left of the photo.  The wide area of the creek where I took the photos I posted earlier is visible.  Again it’s tough to even recognize, but I’m not sure if that is because of the aerial nature or the felled trees everywhere.

The old garage.  Now a shell of a building.

The old garage. Now a shell of a building.

There is an old walnut that could have been 200 years old for all we know that fell.  Harry was trying to save a burl from it and this is what Betsy photographed.

Some of the trees were so big Harry and Johnny's chain saws were no match for them.

Some of the trees were so big Harry and Johnny's chain saws were no match for them.

Cabinwood Pictures

Posted in Murfeesboro Tornado, Personal with tags , , , on April 13, 2009 by brettvanort

An old friends of my mother’s, Betsy Clark sent me several shots of what the farm looks like now.  It’s really devastating to see.  I pasted the two shots that closely resemble each other to show a before and after.cabinwood-frontMy mom says that so many have been out to help with the clean up and that it helps with all the love and support the Nelson’s have received.  I still wish I was there though.cabinwood-sideAs I sit here and do this I still don’t actually know what it would feel like to see it.  I’m sure it’s a sickening feeling to see it in person.  I have to say that when I first saw the pictures from Betsy I almost started crying.  I’m just hoping that everything that is still there can be somewhat salvaged.cabinwood-back1I hope that this helps rather than hurts everyone that views these that has a connection to the place.  My school reopens today and although I am finishing up a mid-term project, I plan on seeing what other negatives I may have of the farm to scan and post.

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