Thursday, November 23, 2006

the weather is sweet

Ukranian Church with Shadows

Last night I went to bed thinking about the post I was going to write today. It was going to be about how deeply happy I am (I know: stark contrast to Tuesday's angsty post) on mat leave, and how much I enjoy these days, going for long slow walks making photos of shadows and deteriorating buildings and weird things emerging from the river at a remarkably low water level (so far: a picnic table, a Kate Quarrie campaign sign -- ok, that was a few weeks ago but still, a shopping cart, a park bench, two bicycles, a road sign in the river, and a ripped pair of crusty underwear hanging on a tree -- I'll spare you the photo of the crusty knickers). The past two days have been gloriously sunny and I have revelled in it.

Picnic in the Speed I

Emerging Bicycle

At belly dance class, my body wasn't quite so foreign in the mirror as it was a coupla months ago. And I've been doing my belt up a hole tighter than before. Life is good.

Tree shadow

Lying in bed, I couldn't believe that tomorrow was already Thursday; it had come so fast. Which was funny because on Tuesday I couldn't believe I had so long to go before the relief of Sugar Daddy's help on the weekend.

But this morning I'm not feelin' it. I feel hungover, even though it's been several days since I had an alcoholic drop, and the fog outside the window when I woke matched the fog inside my head. I guess it just goes to show how much of a difference the weather makes in my life.

* * *

Ok, so I've drank some water, the hangover feeling has passed, as has the fog, both outside and inside. In fact, there is even direct sunlight shining through the window on me. Ahhhhhh. I have never before experienced direct sunlight while sitting at the computer here before. And it's not even hitting the screen so there's no unpleasant glare. I've been listening to some old Bob Marley, and a newer Bob Marley remix by Fatboy Slim** and now itunes has moved onto Damian Marley (I don't actually know who Damian Marley is -- maybe Bob's son? -- but it's reggae and I like it).

I've been fiddling with the photos I made yesterday, and have been happily surprised discovering all the things you can do to make formerly disappointing images closer to what you intended when you squeezed the shutter release. Life is good again.

So I can go back to musing about photography and whether it enhances my experience of the world out on these walks, or interferes with it. Does constantly trying to figure out how things will look in two dimensions prevent me from enjoying them in three?

boat with blue sky

I think it was after I showed this image to Sugar Daddy the other day that he finally asked, "Where are you going to get these photos? Where are you taking Swee'pea???" Indeed, I think anybody seeing me would think I'm mad hauling my sleeping baby in the stroller, creeping around crumbling buildings and up to the edges of rivers with my camera to my eye and my back to the stroller.

graffiti with shadows and pipes

And don't tell Sugar Daddy but when I took this shot, the stroller even started rolling away. Don't worry, it didn't go far and I went to get him before finally putting the camera back up to my eye and pressing the shutter release, my foot wedged under the stroller tire.

Sometimes on these walks I have wondered, what's the point? What's the point of taking all these photos? I can't possibly catalogue all the beautiful shadows and reflections of the world. And even if I could, who would want to look at a catalogue that big? I'm not going to print these images and hang them on my walls, because I don't have enough walls for all these images, not even just the ones from the last week, or even yesterday.

And when I take a picture of yet another old shed, yet another ladder on its side, yet another bicycle with a shiny fender, yet another brick wall, I wonder why. I remember, back when I was into litracha, reading something by Timothy Findley about how recurring images keep popping up in his writing. I seem to remember one was a doorbell echoing in an empty house but I'm not sure. I think it might have been in the intro to Dinner Along the Amazon*. Anyways, I think about that every time I press the shutter in these instances.

These walks have forced me to admit to myself the real reason for not wanting to go back to work: the rediscovery of my two old flames. And I don't want to lose touch with this writing, picture-making, enjoying the sun on her face person, like I did when I started working full-time back in 2000. (Gah! I almost hate to publish that big for fear of the judgment. It was the guilt from this admission that partly led me to the conclusion that maybe it wouldn't be the best if it were possible.)

But I love these leisurely days (well, ok the diaper changes are most certainly NOT leisurely but apart from those), with morning naps writing and afternoon naps in the stroller making pictures, and a somewhat leisurely lunch in the middle; watching Swee'pea make his first forays into finger foods, index finger outstretched as he reaches to pinch each morsel like a crab, quickly jamming it towards his mouth before it falls on the way, and using the back of his fist or his other hand to get it into his mouth if he misses his target on the first try; cleaning out the collection of lost bits from wrinkles and pockets of his clothes, and crevices in the high chair; occasionally watching belly dancing on youtube while we eat, Swee'pea craning his neck to look around me if I get in the way of the screen; discovering he shares my love of cheese, yogurt and aloo gobi but not my dislike of sweet potato.

*Ok, so I finally managed to track down the quote from Timothy Findley. Yay, Interweb! It wasn't a doorbell, it was a door slamming, and it's worth repeating the whole bit here, given what I have just written. Funny how memory works, huh?

"It came as something of a shock, when gathering these stories for collective publication Dinner Along the Amazon (1984)], to discover that for over thirty years of writing my attention has turned again and again to the same unvarying gamut of sounds and images. They not only turn up here in this present book, but in my novels, too. I wish I hadn't noticed this. In fact, it became an embarrassment and I began to wonder if I should file A CATALOGUE OF PERSONAL OBSESSIONS. The sound of screen doors banging; evening lamplight; music held at a distance -- always being played on a gramaphone; letters written on blue-tinted note paper; robins making forays onto summer lawns to murder worms; photographs in cardboard boxes; Colt revolvers hidden in bureau drawers and a chair that is always falling over. What does it mean? Does it mean that here is a writer who is hopelessly uninventive? Appallingly repetitive? Why are the roads always dusty in the man's work -- why is it always so hot -- why can't it RAIN? And my agent was once heard to moan aloud as she was reading through the pages of a television script I had just delivered: "Oh God, Findley -- not more rabbits!" 1

**I also have to share the lyrics to one of the songs I listened to while writing this post; the Bob Marley remixed by Fatboy Slim. It just seems so apt, given my mental meanderings:

Sun is shining, the weather is sweet
Make you want to move your dancing feet
To the rescue, here I am
Want you to know ya, where I stand

(Monday morning) here I am
Want you to know just if you can
(Tuesday evening) where I stand
(Wednesday morning) tell myself a new day is rising
(Thursday evening) get on the rise a new day is dawning
(Friday morning) here I am
(Saturday evening) want you to know just
Want you to know just where I stand

When the morning gathers the rainbow
Want you to know I'm a rainbow too
So, to the rescue here I am
Want you to know just if you can
Where I stand, know, know, know, know, know

We'll lift our heads and give JAH praises
We'll lift our heads and give JAH praises, yeah

Sun is shining, the weather is sweet now
Make you want to move your dancing feet
To the rescue, here I am
Want you to know just if you can
Where I stand, know, know, know, where I stand

Monday morning, scoo-be-doop-scoop-scoop
Tuesday evening, scoo-be-doop-scoop-scoop
Wednesday morning, scoo-be-doop-scoop-scoop
Thursday evening, scoo-be-doop-scoop-scoop
Friday morning, scoo-be-doop-scoop-scoop
Saturday evening, scoo-be-doop-scoop-scoop

So to the rescue, to the rescue, to the rescue
Awake from your sleep and slumber
Today could be your lucky number
Sun is shining and the weather is sweet


Penny said...

I lost a fish once because I was taking a pic of a sunset while holding both camera and fishing pole in a boat. I didn't lose the pole, so the pic was worth it. The pic I took was one of my favorite of my camping trip ~ the one that didn't get away. But, a runaway stroller is pretty funny!

Aliki2006 said...

Happy Thanksgiving! I, for one, enjoy your photos--I hope you keep them coming!

Beck said...

Damian Marley IS Bob Marley's son. I have no idea why I know this, but a priest friend of mine was at Bob Marley's funeral. Long story.

One of the things that I love about being home is totally that I have time to noodle around doing things that I love to do. That doesn't make me self-absorbed - my kids are woven into my daily rythym, into everything I do during the day. I think it's very important that mothers learn to love their new, child-fileld lives and I think that your Swee'Pea will have beautiful sunny memories of watching his mom take pictures.

jen said...

ah. i didn't have time to read your whole post carefully as i am up to elbows in stuffing, but your pictures are amazing - i love how you consistently show the beauty of the things others might overlook.

Nancy said...

This was lovely. Your photos and glimpses of life are absolutely beautiful. I hope you do continue to enjoy such amazing and sweet moments even when your mat leave is through.

cinnamon gurl said...

Aww, thanks guys.

Beck, your comment means a lot in particular means a lot (not the Damian Marley stuff, though thanks for that tidbit but the mothering stuff). Thanks!

Mad Hatter said...

Oh the majesty of Mat leave. How I miss it. Thanks for this beautiful glimpse back on a wondrous time and thanks for posting these stunning images.

Red Rollerskate said...

Excellent photos. I'll be back.