“From Interstate 81” By Cara Ellen Modisett

“Simplicity” By William Cates

Artemis is pleased to present the photograph “The Beauty of Simplicity” by William Cates, (published in Artemis 2016) and an essay by Cara Ellen Modisett, “From Interstate 81” (published in Artemis 2014).

From Interstate 81

Orion’s up and faces the half-full moon. Headlights follow the blacktop, turn, brake, merge, sweep, fall short of the sky, reach far enough to tell me where deer might be, are swallowed up in the dark beyond.

Orion follows me. The stars crowd him, patterns turned over and upside-down, Seven Sisters, Andromeda, Cassiopeia, Ursa Minor, Ursa Major. They are not as distant as they will be when the winter is winter and the air is cold.

Between the cities, the dark deepens. Where there were fields, there is nothing; were there were rivers, there are sudden glints of silver; where there were trees, there are tall figures standing silent; where there were mountains, there is a massive blackness carved out against the sky.

The moon tumbles in the creeks. The moon shines off the roofs of barns. The moon casts shadows on the grass. The moon races with the traffic. The moon glows on Purgatory Mountain. The moon spills down the steps from my upstairs window. The moon tangles itself in the walnut tree. The moon rises red out of the ocean. The moon hangs above the city on invisible string. The moon illuminates the trucks stopped for sleep. The moon finds the army tank, gunless, on its flatbed. The moon wakes up a bird that thinks it’s morning. The moon turns the clouds into corridors.

Cara Ellen Modisett

William Cates has been photographing since the 1960’s and is the author of four short story collections and a recent novel, The Growing Season. He is also a winemaker.

Cara Ellen Modisett is an essayist, pianist and former editor of Blue Ridge Country magazine.

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