Thursday, June 16, 2016

The fences that separate us

Chain link
London, ON
June 2016
For more in-the-metal-themed Thematic, head here.
The scene: It's an unseasonably warm and brilliantly sunny spring day. I've dropped our daughter off at, ironically, a photo shoot. We're just far away from home that it makes more sense for me to stay out while she works. So I'm glad I heeded my wife's advice to take my own camera along and do some shooting of my own.

After dropping her off, I wander outside the community centre into the tree-lined park that surrounds it. This bucolic, rectangular slice of green is tucked away in the middle of a city block such that the only people who know it's here are the folks who either live nearby or Google Mapped it. The perimeter of the park is lined by the back yards of half-century-old homes, sitting in the shade of similarly old trees. It feels like I've found a hidden jewel in the middle of yesterday's vision of suburban utopia, a secret spot that no one else seems to have discovered.

Aside from a still-closed outdoor pool, an empty wading pool, a just-as-deserted playground and a dusty old baseball field, there isn't much here. The blinding midday sun is the exact opposite of Golden Hour. It's overwhelming, whitewash-like and, frankly, oppressive. The large stretches of grass punctuated by trees and bushes don't really grab my eye's attention, and I assume my photo-walkabout is going to be a bust.

But then something weird happens. I head for the biggest tree and sit down underneath, its shade serving as a perfect shelter from the ridiculous sun. I let the breeze tickle my sandal-clad toes as I lie down on my back and stare up and around. For the first time in what seems like days, I let myself relax. I'm not watching a clock, answering a call, responding to a text or otherwise engaging with the outside world. I'm just chilling.

I'm not sure how long I spend under this tree, but when I get back up and continue my meandering through the park, I see the formerly boring elements - empty swimming pool, chain link fence, tired baseball diamond - differently. They're still boring, routine, mundane, past their prime. But now that I've slowed my brain down a bit, I no longer dismiss them outright. I slowly take them in, look for angles I might have missed previously, consider the options, wonder what stories they could tell - or have yet to tell.

A couple of hours later, our daughter is done working, so we head for home. And I secretly find myself looking forward to her next gig so I can wander the neighborhood and slowly uncover the stories buried in its otherwise unremarkable features.

Your turn: Where did you take your last walk? What did you see?

1 comment:

Vicki said...

Last night, after dinner, I took my 3 year old grandson for a walk around the block. It was especially hot and sunny. Normally, we see several people and pets out in the yards we pass. Because of the weather, the only people out were workers cutting down a neighbor's tree.

As we walked, we talked about the sounds we heard. There were several birds chirping and the sound of saws buzzing. In the distance we could hear a train and trucks on the highway.

Being a photographer, many times we see things differently than others. Because of sensory overload, and the hub and bub of daily life, relaxing and enjoying even the smallest of things bring great new perspectives to our surroundings.