Let me begin by saying I had a really great weekend. It was the first time I had felt right since about Dec 26th and I couldn’t wait to get out shooting. My wife Kim and I went up to her parents farm, a place I can never get enough, especially when it comes to photography. Kim’s brother Mark is moving back there to work together with their father on the farm. Not a lot of younger people want that life anymore; they leave the farm and look to the cities — it worries when I think about how so few are struggling to feed so many.
But Mark did choose it, and, what’s more, I think he’s pretty good at it (in my humble and inexperienced opinion anyhow). So, he’s moved into one of the other farm houses and we went up to help with some renovations – though our part in it was mainly demolition in nature. It was great fun, and not just because I got to use a crow bar.
As we peeled back the layers of the house, it was like peeling pack layers of time and looking into the history of the farm itself. As we tore down the wood paneling we came across wallpaper from different eras of the house, and eventually we came to the original brick. A section of floor had some weak boards that needed to come up and as we pulled up the flooring we found newspapers that had been laid down as insulation in 1921. Ads for $4 fountain pens and articles about agriculture abounded across the floor. We even read an article talking about cancer. At the time it was thought that cancer was something you were born with, but that it could be cured with the application of “x-rays”. It was tempting to chuckle at how little was known at that time, but Kim pointed out that it in 90 years people may look back at our understanding of such things and feel like chuckling. We don’t know it all yet, not even close. But it was comforting to know that we’ve learned a little; to think that in spite of all the ignorance our species possesses, that we have uncovered some small truths about the world. Maybe we can turn things around.
At one point in the weekend I had to make a choice: keep working or go out shooting. I could have done either and no one would have minded – they said as much, knowing I might want to take some photos. The sunset light was falling perfectly on the snowy fields, and as I looked out the window I realized that when I visit Mark and that house in the years to come and when I look back on that weekend, I don’t want to remember that I left family to be alone in the cold, no matter how good the light was.
But rest assured, when the work stopped, I did take some time to have a little fun on my own. Just a few from my first weekend out in 2010. A great start to the year I think – one for the history books I hope.