I have an uncle, my Dad’s younger brother, who was in his career a beloved literature professor at Acadia University in Wolfville, Nova Scotia. As a professor he was well-liked by his students and he knew what students were about and was able to direct them profitably and constructively in their academic careers. At lunchtimes in Edmonton growing up, Dad would read us letters in which his brother would own to his chagrin in the matter of occasionally having to borrow cigarettes from his students. His students esteemed him enough to forego this trespass – he got along with his students that well. What’s brought him to mind tonight is that he was someone who when sitting still at a task for too long got himself up out of his chair or away from his desk and out into his car and go for an hour’s drive and have a look about at his world; the last car of his that I road in was an early eighties Volvo sedan that he had had repainted a metallic green. He loved a drive as did his mother (my grandmother), his wife and daughter. A good drive was always a means to unwind from a day pressing obligations to capacity; he’d arrive back and he would have shifted his state … the world was better for having gone for a drive.
Yesterday, at day’s end I found that I had been sitting at computers, at school and at home, for more than twelve hours combined. And, I found that there was still more to do, more obligations to students and staff and their various undertakings … the work of the work was to stay at it and complete it. But, I wasn’t being productive, more a body realization than anything else … sitting down and sitting still from my day into my evening was not to be had. I pulled my uncle’s trick, I grabbed my camera bag, tripod, down-filled jacket, gloves and hat, and, I got into my car and steered it east from High Level. Twenty minutes from High Level, yielded the opportunity to photograph Canada geese, cranes, swallows and reflection upon water. The evening also yielded the good fortune of stumbling into a former colleague whose career path has mirrored my own; we probably haven’t chatted meaningfully for about five or six years. In half an hour I heard much about her world – her daughters, her husband and their next steps. I finished out the evening with another hour of photography and returned home.
Listening to – the Steve Miller Band’s Rock’n Me, Take the Money and Run and Mercury Blues; Murray McLauchlan’s Farmer’s Song and Hard Rock Town have featured as has Ryan Adams’ Chains of Love. The morning’s walk featured U2’s Magnificent, Eddie Vedder’s Hard Sun among other songs.
Quote to Inspire – “I treat the photograph as a work of great complexity in which you can find the drama. Add to that a careful composition of landscapes, live photography, the right music and interviews with people, and it becomes a style.” – Ken Burns
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