One last shot

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It’s late in the day. Tired. Hungry. The equipment is all loaded and the crew is ready to go eat and rest.

Then the light changes. No, you say to yourself. No, it’s just another sunset. You don’t have time.

Then the paint horse begins to walk up the pasture.

Without actually making a decision you begin to walk toward the fence. Quietly. You reach into your pocket for a camera and then for a few glorious moments you are simply lost. You aren’t hungry or tired. There’s just the light and the horse.  The little yellow flowers seems to glow. The horse turns the wrong way and you get some fantastic sunset photos featuring the wrong end of the horse.

Then he turns and begins to graze toward you and the sound of his eating and chewing seems like a sound from another world. A deep crunching noise as he breaks off the sweet grass and chews.

Then something happens. The cosmic tumblers fall into place and you get just a moment where the sun, the sky, the horse and the little yellow flowers feels like they are in just the right place. One frame out of a few hundred. The last shot. One last shot.

It’s a gift. You could have been down the road a few miles but, instead, you happen to be standing there with a camera in your hands when something sweet and memorable happens. It’s a gift you give to yourself. One last shot.

A lot happened today. Hundreds of photos and hours of video. But as I lay dying years and years from now this is the image I am most likely to remember from this day. The last shot. One last shot.

Losing A Thing

2016-01-31 21.55.28

Generally speaking, I am not attached to things.

I dropped the watch on a tile floor. I landed face down and made a terrible, flat cracking sound. I knew it was broken before I picked it up.

I took it to a watch repair shop where it had been repaired once before. After a long moment, the proprietor explained he could fix it but that it would probably not keep time properly. He shook it gently and I could hear bits of glass rattling inside. Little bits of glass had gotten down into the works of the watch.

Generally speaking, I am not attached to things. I started to just throw it away but, instead, I wrapped it carefully in a plastic bag and took it with me.

Generally speaking, I am not attached to things.

This particular thing I bought from the duty free cart on an airplane as I was flying to Australia and then on to China. I liked the inner ring that allowed me to quickly calculate what time is was in various time zones. It became the watch I wore on shoots because he had a silent, mechanical stop watch. It’s the watch I wore on vacations. The watch I wore on weekends.

It’s not the watch I will miss. It’s a thing and, generally speaking, I am not attached to things.

What I will miss are the memories connected to the watch. The trips, the shoots, the people. The smooth, silent click of the stopwatch. The rings that named all the time zones. That’s why I just placed it gently in a drawer along with some other things.

Generally speaking, I am not attached to things. But some things take on the freight of memories to be cherished. That’s why I will miss this watch and that’s why I cannot throw it away.

First World Problems

2016-01-16 06.21.31

As a frequent traveler, I have TSA PreCheck so I can breeze through security without taking off my shoes, leaving my computer in my bag and wearing my jacket.

Until today, I did not know they “randomly select” TSA PreCheck customers to go through regular security. As a result of my ignorance, this morning I found myself standing in a line with a bunch of well-meaning people carrying their possessions in trash bags, wearing their sports ball shirts and wrangling their kids while demonstrating a general lack of awareness of the basic procedures for going through security or breathing through their noses.

Meanwhile, I stare with the dead eyes of a predator at the TSA PreCheck line which is completely empty.

I went through through the five-stages of grief, consulted the iChing, hyper-ventilated and contemplated (only briefly) the consequences of trying to leap a four-foot Plexiglass security barrier.

I have been poisoned by entitlement.

A guy in front of me seemed to think he was being arrested because they told him to raise his hands in the scanner. I remove my shoes, as compliant as a sheep or a lemming. I raise my hands. I am disrobed. Beltless. Jacketless. My belongings in plastic bins festooned with advertisements.

Mysterious rays probe my very being.

My cuff links, a gift from my son and his wife, are examined with suspicion. Cleared, I gather my belongings and reassemble myself on a low bench. I am a free man once again.