Fifty Bucks

I wouldn’t call myself a slave to the work, because the work has brought me joy, but I have been galloping since May while working on a big project and on the fifth of September I suddenly felt my world slow down.  I was eating dinner with a film crew on the edge of the lake in McCall and I let myself relax.  I felt it in my bones, in my neck muscles and shoulders — something easy passed over me and my work-hardened spirit softened.  At some point, after our table had been cleared, I looked out into the night where a floating trampoline sits in the lake and I asked the crew (who are my real life friends) and Robert (he was there, too) what it would cost them to swim out to the trampoline and do a backflip.

Someone said, “A thousand dollars!”

Some other numbers were tossed out and we mulled it over for a time and I spoke the words, “Fifty bucks.”

One of the guys reached into his wallet and pulled out a wad of cash, set it on the the table and we all sat there and looked at the money for a moment.

Then I stood up, climbed over the stone wall that separates the dining patio from the beach and I took off my corduroy pants and button down shirt and waded out into the lake in my underwear beneath the night sky.  When I was hip deep, I submerged myself and began to swim, thrilled by the feeling that comes with being in water in darkness in the summertime.  When I reached the trampoline, I climbed up the ladder and jumped around for a bit while my friends laughed with delight from shore.

The water was warm.  The act felt young and true and free of the responsibilities and seriousness that comes with being thirty-five years old.  I swam back to the restaurant, stood dripping on the patio, wrapped in a down jacket, smiling and shivering and Robert said, “Well guys, I guess we’re going swimming.”  They, too, left the table, stripped down to their underwear and swam out, eventually doing backflips off the trampoline into the lake.

I never did pocket the fifty dollars that my friend set on the table.  The money wasn’t my reason for swimming.  Nor did I do it for attention.  I did it to make a memory with the hopes that my friends would choose to make a memory, too.  I did it to feel young and free and wild.  I did it because I knew should not, because it’s not considered ladylike to publicly take off your clothing and swim around in your undies while people eating in a nice restaurant are watching.  I did it with the hope that others would follow in my mildly outrageous footsteps and find themselves ageless for a moment.  I did it so we could all swim out and feel the night surround us, paddling with childlike strokes towards distant lights.

I hear water pushing past granitic forms like antlers cutting past snow ladened wind — elemental and musical, tooth and nail.  Pine and fir are rusting in a smoky breeze.  I smell the rot of dead salmon.

Closer to the lake, the kokanee are running.  I stand on a cut bank, look out over their neon bodies and watch them stack up in a deep pool, ritualistic, mildly pissy and faithful to their ancestry.  I, too, must make my journey, pass upward against the current, be cut down by wind, whittled by water and refined by flame.

 Two boulders down, I see a sipper surface.  I open my fly box and choose again.

http://www.thenoisyplume.com/blog/2017/09/09/integration/

“How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.”

[Annie Dillard]

http://www.thenoisyplume.com/blog/2017/06/10/12937/

I made it.  I made it through 2.5 of the most busy, most full, most wild months of my life.  Starting in April, I traveled for photography work, I zipped home to Canada to see my family, we made the transition into the fire season by moving the Airstream up to McCall for the summer, the transmission in our big Dodge blew up in the middle of nowhere putting us down to one vehicle between us (while living in two different places), we bought a car, we bought $500 worth of high quality poop for the gardens here, Robert planted a huge asparagus patch, I traveled for work, I slaved in the studio, I traveled for work some more, we began irrigation on the hayfield, the farm was a revolving door and we had rich visits with many friends, I traveled more…a couple of days ago we wrapped an enormous shoot in McCall and that was that — the end of the line!  I have been extremely cognizant about keeping my schedule uncluttered this summer because last summer nearly killed me, I was stretched so thin by work. Currently, I see my summer months looking relatively wide open, there’s a whole lot of white space in my dayplanner, and I’m thankful I’ve practiced saying no as much as I have to photography gigs and various other work trips.  I need my life to slow down, especially during these fire season months when so much of our life details weigh heavily on me.

It’s weird, this place I am in with work.  I like to go back and forth between the metal and my cameras but flipping back and forth between the two mediums causes so much life chaos.  I didn’t plan to work with my cameras in this capacity, but the experiences I’ve had through photography work have been grand.  I couldn’t stop even if I wanted to.  I reckon I’m in my 30s now, anyway, now is the time to have a cup that overfloweth…or in my case, many cups that overfloweth.

My grandfather passed away a few weeks ago now, right in the middle of the truck breakdown, the shift into the fire season (Robert was in the thick of the season refresher in McCall which entails lots of classroom work and practice jumps), we had a gaggle of baby animals at the farm and I was about to leave on a New Mexico shoot I was under contract for.  There was no way I could get home to his funeral and because of the speed of life here, I had to bundle up my emotions regarding his passing and shove them into some empty, echoing chamber of my heart, just to get by, just to get through the month and my work commitments.  It was difficult for me.  I felt emotionally taxed.  I am not repressive by nature.  I feel guilty for not getting home, I worry about what my extended relatives must think of me for missing the funeral, I feel thankful I was able to get home to Canada for a fast visit in March — to see him alive once more, to hug him and kiss him and tell him I love him…

Day by day I am pulling those emotions up, regarding my grandfather’s passing, and sorting through them.  I’m sure it will be a lifelong endeavor.

There’s a lake in McCall I love to go to.  I feel it’s generally overlooked by tourists and locals.  I go there because it’s empty and beautiful and I can be alone with the dogs and hear my thoughts.  The lake is edged by timber and snow capped mountains.  The shore is littered with tattered, water-washed driftwoods.  I often find myself hoping that my heart is like that lake, bottomless and blue and silken to the touch, framed with friendly timber and the enduring grit of granite.  I find myself hoping that the breeze on brilliant sunny days will keep the sapphire pulse of my heart free of debris, clear of log jams and winter killed trees — that those scruffy objects, bobbing and rotting and fading, will be pushed aside by winds and storms.  I hope that there, in the center of that blue heart-world, there is fathomless clarity, undiscovered depths and the sweet seam of mercy that stitches the water to the sky.

http://www.thenoisyplume.com/blog/2017/05/24/12874/

Fall Squall

7I9A1800 7I9A1850 7I9A1871 7I9A1902 7I9A19127I9A19367I9A1930I’m of the opinion that one of the best times to go walking is when everyone else is at home watching the storm, baking cookies and snuggling a cat — but I’ve always enjoyed the terrors of the elements.