Saturday’s Afternoon Drive

Wife at school, prepping; daughter at dance, dancing – this Saturday seems to be mine, a day before me to use at my discretion, and, certainly not a day to pass in front of a computer screen. A breakfast out takes me to the Flamingo Restaurant where my Photo Plus magazine becomes object of discussion between fellow Canon photographer (my cashier) and me; I point him to the Zinio iPad app as the best means to download the Photo Plus, easily, here in High Level.

Onward – my outerwear consists of several items purchased over the years from Mountain Equipment Co-op – ski pants (10 years old), Salomon winter trainers (new, this year) and a down-filled jacket with hood. Set for warmth at -22C, today, I point my GMC Sierra (without grill or driver’s side headlamp) toward Fort Vermilion and La Crete. Music is part of what this Saturday afternoon is about – Sirius Satellite Radio allows for tuning into folk music on Coffee House, news at the top of the hour from CBC and BBC, jazz music and an interview with the bass player working with Miles Davis. Comedy does not attract my attention, today. I had had thoughts of listening to Sid and Mac’s Shuttertime Podcast; but, their podcast is good to digest while out on a walk around High Level … I let the podcast wait.

In Fort Vermilion, Shirley’s Snack Shack allows for purchase of coffee and something unseen before, a Reese’s Peanut Butter chocolate bar. The truck rolls south on the Red Earth road. The first photographs are of a red, mid-sixties, FORD, three-tonne grain truck; the vehicle remains active – it has current plates and tires are full. The next photographs are of cattails, at the northeast corner of a massive field – land, newly broken and newly farmed; the wind stirs the cattails enough that Automatic Exposure Bracketing, while tried, will not allow for HDR results.

La Crete has Quality Motors to check out, a used car lot and a new Subway restaurant. Moving southward from La Crete, Buffalo Head Prairie is next.  A chain of hills loom in the distance, a blue backdrop to this settlement and extends to another thirty kilometres away called Blue Hills. Along the way, different untried back roads are taken and they return to the Blue Hills highway.  A derelict farm house is discovered.  Doubling back, a place to park the truck off the highway is found; there, two relics from the fifties are found among old disused farming machinery (Massey Harris is the emblem on a seed drill, not Massey Ferguson). With so much left scattered around, the farm seems to be left medias res (in the middle of things); has there been a family death? There’s a story of a car that drove onto the Tompkin’s Landing ferry many years ago; its brakes failed and one or all occupants of the car drowned.

The final part of the journey involves crossing the Peace River over an ice bridge at Tompkin’s landing; signs are there to direct vehicles and to advise of a maximum speed of 10 km/h for crossing the kilometre-wide river. Another forty minutes in night’s darkness with only a passenger headlight to alert oncoming highway traffic of my presence sees me home before 7:00 p.m..  Supper is grilled cheese sandwiches.

Listening to Miles Davis from his Kind of Blue album and So What; reminds that I first seriously listened to Miles Davis within the Finding Forrester soundtrack … Bill Frisell is also there with Over the Rainbow and Under a Golden Sky.

Quote to Inspire – “While there is perhaps a province in which the photograph can tell us nothing more than what we see with our own eyes, there is another in which it proves to us how little our eyes permit us to see.” — Dorothea Lange

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