Wisconsin Locomotive – Part 2

I am including four other photographs of the Wisconsin locomotive engine within the High Level Canadian National rail yard.

My interest in locomotive engines probably began with the matter of watching them pass by at railroad crossings, as a youngster, sitting among family in our 1969, silver-green Pontiac Parisienne; the big thing was to wave to the engineer and pull our arms down as if we were tugging on a rope above us – to our gesture we were sometimes rewarded with the engineer blowing the train’s air horn in our presence,  something that would thrill us, creating big smiles on the faces of everyone. Later, during summers while in university, I served as spotter and brakeman moving hopper cars around rail yards in southern Edmonton. And, now, I still have an interest in trains and locomotives.  I wonder how much of my current interest has been shaped by time enjoyably shared with my son reading Thomas the Tank Engine stories each night or watching the animated VHS video stories or in building different wooden track configurations and moving different engines around my son’s Thomas the Tank Engine track – Thomas, Percy, Rusty et al. Here, in Reverend Wilbert Awdry’s stories, it’s the everyday advice on the practicalities of living and the allegorical component of his stories that continues to hold my attention … there’s value and values there. My son is now eighteen and in university – many good facets of what life is about have been embedded in his character through these stories; these stories have been an enjoyable investment in my son’s future. And, still trains and what they accomplish capture my interest.

Listening to Billy Bragg and Wilco perform Stetson Kennedy from the Mermaid Avenue, Vol. 2 album; then it’s been Black Rebel Motorcycle Club … who would have thought four seminary graduates would minister through music … like this in Ha Ha High Babe.

Quote to Inspire – “I began to realize that the camera sees the world differently than the human eye and that sometimes those differences can make a photograph more powerful than what you actually observed.” – Galen Rowell

Alberta Fissure

The Peace Valley at Dunvegan

At most points in the geography of Alberta the Peace River is at least one kilometre across.  At various points it will broaden out allowing for islands and sand dunes. The first time I saw what the Peace River was about what I noticed was something this photograph conveys, the river has cut a fissure into the land through time and while the river is most times one kilometre across, the distance from level land on top of the river valley to level land on the top of the other side of the river valley is greater, spanning as much as four and five kilometres. The other thing noticed is that it takes about two kilometres of gradual descent in a vehicle to reach the river from the valley’s crest. This photograph is taken at the start of the descent toward Dunvegan and the Dunvegan suspension bridge looking north.  It’s late on a September Sunday and shadows creep from the west extending eastwards.

Listening to Bill Mallonee & the Vigilantes of Love sing Resplendent from their Audible Sigh album, a message about the nature of resilience borrowing from the narrative of the dustbowl.

Quote to Inspire – “I hate cameras.  They are so much more sure than I am about everything.” – John Steinbeck

Bezanson Backroad …

The log built structure in the first black and white photograph is a Presbyterian Church on the back roads between Bezanson and Grande Prairie, Alberta. The other photographs are of a set of mailboxes that you’d find on back roads in rural Alberta, an economical means for both farmers and Canada Post to distribute the mail. Setting the Church and mailboxes in juxtaposition brings out core ideas of message and being in receipt of message;  both seem to suggest that you have to get the message … work is involved, others are involved.  Interesting ….

Listening to Honey and the Moon, from Joseph Arthur’s Redemption’s Son; the song reminds of Stocki’s Rhythm and Soul BBC Radio Ulster broadcast (Sundays at 1:00 p.m. – Alberta MST) in which I first heard Johnny Cash singing a Depeche Mode song – Personal Jesus, hill-billy-fied, on the American IV: The Man Comes Around album (the honky-tonk piano … caught my ear – totally good) … the other tune from this album receiving air-play is Johnny Cash singing Sting’s I Hung My Head.

Quote to Inspire – “We don’t take pictures with our cameras. We take them with our hearts and we take them with our minds, and the camera is nothing more than a tool.” – Arnold Newman

Along the Back Way Home

Fairview Homestead - Along the Back Way Home

The as-the-crow flies, back way, return home from Grande Prairie to High Level, Alberta has a driver/photographer deviate from the GPS (Global Positioning Satellite) recommended route at Fairview and move north and east through the back country behind towns like Spirit River, Blue Sky, Berwyn, Grimshaw and Peace River. The route deposits you back on the GPS recommended route, north of Peace River and Dixonville at the corner upon which you’ll find the Weberville Community Hall, twenty minutes from Manning; you’ll chew-off some of the drive time and see land and animals that many will never see – my last trip had three moose standing on the side of the road as I drove by.

Beginning this deviated trek, ten kilometres north from Fairview you’ll find the homestead featured in this photograph on the east side of the road, a former home that is accorded reverence as a starting home for and reminder of the family that broke this land. Visual inspection of the homestead through my camera lens reveals that it was a home in stages.  It had a basic first shape and it received alteration and addition, no doubt to welcome the blessing of a family’s increase in population. Grain grows around the home to with a metre of the building and tree perimeter – care is taken to preserve memory and to utilize the land. The home had been a starting point and reminds of starting points.

Listening through most songs on Joseph Arthur’s Redemption’s Son album – songs standing out are In the Night, Evidence and Nation of Slaves;  my listen through reminds of Joseph Arthur’s tune of blessing sung by Michael Stipe and Joseph Arthur – In the Sun.

Curious Quotes to ponder – “You should never think without an image.” – Aristotle; “The soul can not think without a picture.” – Aristotle.