Saturday, March 31, 2007

A journey begins


Please remain seated
London, Ontario, March 2007 [Click to enlarge]

It's just before midnight, and my wife has just dropped me off at the shuttle terminal where I am about to begin my journey to the other side of the continent. The plan is to drive to Detroit and pick up my early morning flight. I'm leaving just before midnight because the prospect of waking up at 4 a.m. and making a mad dash into Detroit while I stare at the clock isn't my idea of stress-free travel. Better to get there early and enjoy some free time in the airport (see the apple juice pic for the result of this philosophy.)

While I wait for the two grandmas in the older-than-my-grandparents waiting room to finish discussing the finer points of knitting, I wander outside and happen upon an empty bench under a single light. I have a thing for starkly lit nighttime scenes (see here and here), so I instantly think this is a worthwhile first picture for my just-begun adventure.

As I compose it, I think of the people who have sat here for the better part of a generation. Some may have just left home, and were waiting for a shuttle to take them far away. Some may have just gotten back from wherever they were, and anxiously sat watching for someone they knew to round the corner and pick them up. Either way, this is not a destination, but a transient place where people really don't want to spend time, because they all have somewhere better to go.

Your turn: Imagine sitting on this bench for any length of time. What do you see?

17 comments:

Mr. Althouse said...

It feels like a lonely place, like one of no real significance. Almost like a crossroads, really... a place where one decides upon the direction one's life would take.

Nice shot.

Mike

Bob-kat said...

I'm with Mr A. It looks like a lonely place. I do love the lines in the pic though. Great pic!

Thanks for your well wishes over my award. I understand you've been awarded it more than once so congratulations to you. it is well deserved. You would have made my list but I wnated to spread the joy to those who had not yet been recognised. Keep up the great work :-)

Anna said...

Nice image Carmi. LIKE THE LINES. The tones in it only foster the idea for me of what Mike said about it feeling lonely.

You can sit for a short time or a long time...but it still looks lonely.

Write From Karen said...

It took me a while to comment because as usual, I had to scroll through all of your recent entries and enlarge your pictures for a better look. And, as usual, you have made something interesting out of something mundane. I LOVE your airport stories! I have a feeling I could pick your brain for hours and fill not one, but two notebooks full of story ideas.

Now, on to the lonely bench ...

I'm a loner. So I would most likely be the only person sitting on that bench. And I would most likely have my head down, a notebook in hand and focused entirely on scrawling down descriptions and observations - I love to people watch. I would watch a young family urgently pull their toddler along after them as they hurry to catch their flight. I would watch various businessmen and women nonchalantly sip their coffees and check their Blackberries for upcoming appointments. I would most definitely keep my eye on the young, funky 20-something girl noisily chomping on her gum and listening to her iPod as she plays a game on her cell phone.

But most of all, I would watch the airport personnel - their body language, their facial expressions, their concentration, their (im)patience with customers.

Wonderful post, Carmi. I’m totally writing these ideas down. Thanks for the material!

Mike said...

A very lonely picture. Hope your trip goes well.

Michele sent me

Lori Schmidt (LoriProPhoto) said...

HI Carmi, I have been following your posts but just havent had time to post. My brain is a mush at the moment.

I agree that the bench makes me feel lonely and empty. Simple picture but has a strong message.


Looking forward to more pics from your trip. I liked the juice can a lot!! LOL

Lori

Gyrobo said...

What do I see?

I see the "wet paint" sign that slid through the planks, and I instantly regret wearing my good sweat pants.

Awareness said...

As I sit on the bench waiting and waiting.......smoking a cig and wondering....

I look across the way and see a man dressed in a wrinkled trenchcoat over his worn jeans....well walked in boots.....a cap on his head (navy blue).....playing a lament on his harmonica. His eyes are closed....lost in his own reverie.

And I in mine.......

I love airports.

sage said...

I think I hear the crowds more than see them--the excitement of the game.

margalit said...

I agree with the masses. It looks like a lonely place to sit and hang out. I imagine that some elderly couple are standing at the taxi line looking anxiously to the left to see if the shuttle or a cab is coming. The man looks at his watch and scowls, the woman pats his arm and tells him that the shuttle will be there soon.

So where are you headed this time, you world traveler, you!

The Harbour of Ourselves said...

places of possibility....of re-thinking, trying to breathe again, of thinking who we just might be....

i like the lonelines of this shot Carmi - it makes me think of Randy Newman's music for some reason...

talj said...

I'm an avid people watcher so although many of your commenters feel this is lonely place I think I would enjoy watching the world go by and spend time wondering what each person going by is doing here in this place.

Great shot Carmi, love the lighting and editing works really nicely :o)

Hope you have a safe trip!!

Tabor said...

I agree that there is no happiness or hope in the picture. And yet travel shold mean new beginnings and hope for change.

MissMeliss said...

I don't see it as lonely so much as hopeful. What do I see? The kid with a duffle bag and a guitar, going off to try making his fortune; the young woman with a small child in a stroller. She's rocking it back and forth while she sits on the bench.

But...I also see the two old guys in plaid pants and newsboy caps who look like they'd rather be at a racetrack playing the horses than on a bench waiting to be sent to Florida forever.

This comment brought to you courtesy of Michele.

Minerva said...

A very lonely picture Carmi..and I don't know if it just me, but I think of death.. Of a place where one waits eternallly to begin or end, but neither happens...

Brrr.....

Need to go for a walk to shake that off I think..

panthergirl said...

I see those bricks which are in desperate need of repointing!!

Here via michele today!

Rainbow dreams said...

anticipation, anxiety, expectation - a place of feelings.

Thats what I see.... though I wouldn't want to be alone there