Saturday, June 05, 2010

The view from the open road

See the forest for the clouds
Oshawa, ON, October 2009

Highway 401, which runs for over 800 km from the Quebec-Ontario border in the east to the Michigan-Ontario border to the west, is the busiest such road in North America. Since we moved to London, it's played a huge role in our lives as we've driven it countless times to visit family back home.

As with everything in life, some of these drives are planned and happy occasions. But with aging parents, a ringing phone sometimes prompts a drop-everything-and-drive-now moment. And when it does, I strangely find myself reaching for my camera. Keeping it close by during moments like these brings me comfort.

I shot this picture from the passenger seat of the car as my wife drove westbound near Oshawa, just east of Toronto. We were on our way home from our first Montreal trip since my father had died. My mother-in-law was still in the hospital, and we were still numbed from a life's inflection point that continues to shape us. I quietly fiddled with the controls, idly figuring out how I could freeze the world outside as we cruised through it at 120 km/h*.

This particular scene stuck out, because it managed to combine the dark and the light, the ominous shadows of silhouetted trees and thick clouds with the brilliant hope of sunlight breaking through. It was just the kind of dichotomy - in two dimensions - that I found myself wrestling with every time I closed my eyes and thought about what we had lost. Somehow, I needed to focus not on the dark clouds, but on the light trying to burst through

Your turn: What is it about being on the road that prompts deep, personal reflection?

One more thing: This photo supports our latest Thematic Photographic theme, Into the Clouds. Please click here if you'd like to participate. All are always welcome.

* For more out-the-moving-car images, click here, here and here.


sage said...

I love driving across the great plains and watching approaching thunderstorms, or to see the wind move the grass like waves

theMuddledMarketPlace said...

i guess
being at home can restrict that kinda deep personal reflection

as the miles draw me away from a place that incidentaly i do enables me to go to that reflective place.
Surrounding myself with the comforts of living.....just inhibits the diving -off process

i think....

Snaggle Tooth said...

I've actually been known to do the risky clicking while driving trick (not recently tho)
Looks like those clouds read your mind that day!So dark!
I love when the cloud tones have such deep contrast- I don't envy the trip reason a bit tho!
The only two trips I've taken in the past year were funerals...
Clouds do inspire me at those times as well- as tho a sign from the Creator.

Jean-Luc Picard said...

That looks a srormy cloud.

It seems so unusual and refreshing when on the open road. The motorways are perpetually being repaired and we have to slow down. A quiet open road is so much better.

NetChick sent me here.