The past week was spent camping with forty students at an outdoor education centre. Sleeping on the ground for four nights cannot help but cause a head cold, and I will be spending the next few days resting, I think. Beyond the daily work, education allows me to think and reflect. I am permitted a few clear moments each week to consider just what our time in this world means, which is far more time than most people get. This week, while a few deer or coyotes were tramping through the woods toward my tent – nothing helps clarity like a few animals crashing towards you – I gave myself permission to ask what I valued in my life these days.
The value we place on time has become cheap. So much of our time is spent looking forward or is surrendered for the sake of our professional lives. This month I actually turned down work for the first time, and I did it because I valued my time at rest more than the extra income it would provide for me to take the gig. I cherish the time I get behind the lens, and when I was lying in my tent it was those times out in the world that I thought about the most.
If I had not been out in the world, then I would never have met V. Without my photography I doubt that I would be able to remind myself of where I have been, who I have been, and who I have known. Being out there is never easy. I know that many people claim that travel and change is easy, but I have my doubts about what those people are doing. Walking beyond your comfort area, even if that means to a different corner store, is just not a normal human activity, and for every push you make the world pushes back with an equal and opposite force.
V. just got word that she has been given an extraordinary opportunity to travel to Thunder Bay for placement for an additional four weeks beyond her upcoming six week placement. For me, it will mean less V. over the next little bit, but I know that such opportunities are never to be looked at negatively, and I probably also feel a little jealous that I am not able to just pick up and go with her. Still, it does mean that I will probably head north in March during the break to visit and see what we can photograph together. We are thinking that the Linhof View camera might be an ideal tool for us given the landscape and chance to slow down from the Toronto pace. We might even get a chance to weekend in Winnipeg, which would be fun.
In the end, the deer and coyote bypassed my tent, and I went on reading Jules Verne’s 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. What I value is the chance to focus on my growth versus needing to focus on merely providing the essentials of survival for me and my family. I value my family, my few friends, my career, my photography and maybe, just maybe, I value the hard tasks just as much as the soft moments.
The photographs featured in the blog all come from the never-ending scans of the Spain Through Morocco adventure. The Atlas Mountains, Barcelona’s Gaudi interior and a few Essaouria photographs from the rough part of town made it onto the Epson V700 tonight, and they turned out not too badly. I am still working through my new business plans, but the PhotoShelter site is beginning to attract more views every day; I am still waiting for my first sale. Time is on my side.