Photograph by Dobree Adams


Dobree Adams stays down on the farm, and then looks down: snow in a tire rut and whiz/bang, there’s an upsidedown forest... Meanwhile, over there masses of pear blossoms busy themselves constructing a geometric critter with a long face and a long neck... and, as for the samaras, they are turning themselves into two Japanese demons about to attack each other... In these modest pools of water we walk amidst, it is all happening.

Maybe Dobree can tell us why Jean-Phillipe Collard, the brilliant French pianist, has the same name as that strong Southern vegetable: collards, a variety of kale, Brassica oleracea acephala? Monsieur Collard eateth nary no collards, but every time I see the word collards I am thrown into another sonic universe. I welcome these jolts, but often have to scratch my head. Language is banging heads all the time. But, let’s let Jean-Phillipe tickle Monsieur Poulenc’s ivories.

Those who have read Philip Pullman’s magnificent trilogy, His Dark Materials, will respond to the idea of parallel worlds: “Will knew without the slightest doubt that that patch of grass on the other side was in a different world. He couldn’t possibly have said why. He knew it at once, as strongly as he knew that fire burned and kindness was good. He was looking at something profoundly alien.”

Watch PBS these days and see programs with physicists in their labs working on “string theory” and the idea of “branes” that are parallel to us in the universe. Dobree Adams’s photography takes what’s there under our feet and makes it all be seen anew, from other sides.

As e.e. cummings concluded in one of his very best poems:

We doctors know

a hopeless case if --- listen:there’s a hell
of a good universe next door;let’s go

Jonathan Williams
Skywinding Farm
Scaly Mountain, North Carolina
November 30, 2003