This morning, I got yelled at.
As I sat down at my desk with my first cup of morning coffee, I changed my status on Facebook to “Brian is up & watching the snow fall with the chillin’s…” Shortly afterwards Sue Henry commented, verbally harassing me for not only getting the snow she wants, but also for not being outside taking photos. Now… to begin with, I’m not a snow person, so I sat for a few moments, trying to figure a way to switch places with her. But I realized that she’d have to take it as a whole package deal, which included watching The Hulk cartoon my son was watching, for about the 300th time since I picked him up on Friday, and that might be a deal breaker.
I’m exaggerating her, as I sometimes do, Sue didn’t yell at me, more like politely asked in her typical, glass of lemonade, southern-belle way. But either way, she was right, and it was my new year’s resolution to get out and do more, so I was pretty happy when my folks agreed to change plans from going to a museum with the kids to just frolicking in the snow like a bunch of juveniles.
We dragged out the plastic sled from the basement and headed to the local park, or as my kids call, the “Big Hill Park” and found that there were a lot of others with the same idea. The first run was a great one, but ended with a collision between James and another sledder which turned him off to the whole idea for the rest of the day. He spent the rest of the time throwing snowballs and playing with Grandma.
Jack, on the other hand, became a sledding fool. The second the pull of gravity released him at the bottom of the hill, he was off, and climbing back to the starting line for another race to the bottom.
The snow was light, and soon the grass on the hill was starting to show, and the bite to the air was getting a little stronger, so we decided to head back indoors for some hot chocolate… and besides… Jack wanted to show Grandpa the new Hulk cartoon.
Only one single thought went through my mind in the few milliseconds that I was airborne.
Protect the camera.
In the past two weeks, I’ve seen two fellow photographers Brody Grant and Sue Henry endure the anguish of a broken camera. Thankfully, both of them survived, and they lived to shoot another day. As gravity sucked me down I freaked that I would suffer the same fate. Acting on instinct alone, I tucked my camera into my chest and rolled so my back stuck the ground first.
It worked, and as I lay on the patch of cold wet ice that caused me to fall in the first place, I held up my camera to make sure. As I did, I felt the consequences of my great defense maneuver, and a pain ripped through my back. Thankfully the pack on my back took most of the force, but I still kinda hurt. Ahh well, no pain no gain, right?
I got myself back up and navigated safely towards the steps that I was heading to. I took some photos and continued on my way.
The “Blizzard of ’09” that the weatherman predicted was pretty much a dud, but there was a fine covering of snow and ice over much of Queens. I headed to where I knew the snow and ice would be most untouched by shovels and rock salt, a cemetery. Apparently I was the only one with this thought, because I found a quiet and peace I hadn’t really seen before. The air was crisp and it blew through the leaf-less trees. On the ground were tracks of cats and either a few rabbits, or one amazing active one. Almost every where I walked, my footprints were the only human ones left behind. I raised my camera, trying to capture the stillness, but knew that no matter how good the shots were, they would never be able to capture the tranquility I was feeling.
I continued on until the pain in my back and the numbness of my fingers drove me indoors.
The night before I was sitting with an old friend, a person I have undying respect for, but unfortunately I haven’t seen a lot of in recent years. I showed him the “2008 yearbook” of my work. When he was finished he handed it back to me and said “Ptchfork, you’ve really found that thing you’re meant to do it life and I’m proud of you brother.” His words went right to my heart, and thought about them as I warmed up with a cup of hot cocoa and processed the photos I took. I’m pleased with the outcome and I don’t know if was his words, the beauty of my surroundings or my crash on the ice, but I feel like I might have busted through the funk I’m in.
Time will tell though… we’ll see when I post again.