Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Where it all began

The 'hood
Montreal, QC
December 2018
This photo originally shared on Instagram
This is far from the most spectacular photo in my archive. Of the thousands of street signs that line Montreal's roads, this one - old, rusted, barely holding on - hardly qualifies as photo-worthy. So why did I shoot it?

Good question.

I was wandering the neighborhood around the hospital, running errands for my wife while she stayed back in my father-in-law's room. As fate seemed to want to dictate on this bitterly cold afternoon, it was the same neighborhood my wife and I called our own when we first got married.

I stopped across from the sign, hands buried in my pockets to ward off the chill, and reflected on the decades that now separated us from those heady years in our first apartment together. Before kids. Before moving away. When we still had all our parents, and they were healthy.

Going back in time was obviously out of the question, but shooting one placeholder image definitely wasn't. It's what photography has become for me, a seriously imperfect means of trying to make sense of the passage of time. Imperfect as this method is, it's the best I've got.

I lingered for longer than I probably should have, but it felt somewhat comforting to be so close to the place where we had built our foundation. Because just a few blocks away, that foundation, the story of us, was coming in mighty handy as we dealt with the opposite, darker, sadder end of our family's arc.

Remembering what it felt like when everything lay ahead, when life held limitless potential, when we were a lot more naive than we are now, felt like the right thing to do on this challenging afternoon. It didn't change any outcomes, but it didn't have to. A simple reminder was more than sufficient for now.

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