Tuesday, May 31, 2011

We locked her in the chicken coop and giggled | Moncton Lifestyle Photographer

Funny, My Mom made a comment awhile back that made me think, they had just returned from Florida, and we laughed, about how my sister and I, were the only kids in our classes at school that didn't make it to Disney.  In all honesty, my sister and I were probably the only two who didn't dream about going.  I think we were just too busy with learning about real things, that we didn't have time to think of cartoon characters and fantasy lands.    

A great deal of our childhood was spent at our camp.  It's about an hours drive away, with no less than 100 combinations of ways to drive there, meant, just the mere trip there was the start of our adventures.  It wasn't always about getting there the quickest way possible, it was about enjoying the journey, as much as the destination.  I have talked about the camp before, I know, after all, when something has been such a big part of your life, it does play a big part in who you are, and who you've become.  I've often thought that the poem, "All I really needed to know I learned in Kindergarten" could be adapted to a version specific of "All I really needed to know, I learned at the camp.."

We spent countless hours on the beach, crafting clay dishes, & making dams in the cold spring water to hold our juice boxes.  We built sand fortresses, and dug clams, had seaweed fights, caught chubs and tickle fish, and scoured the rock piles, looking for the perfect skipping rock. We threw rocks, why that river isn't filled in, I can't quite explain.  We threw rocks until our arms hurt; in the heat of the day; and as our shadows grew taller. We went on beach walks and admired broken pieces of dishes and plates, and their delicate patterns, worn from time and the salty water. 

We sat in the truck box and delivered lunches to the boys working in the fields.  We let our imagination move dirt while we sat on the bulldozers brought in for the barn expansion. We went speeding down hills in hand made go carts without brakes.  We packed picnics and explored all our favorite places on the farm. We built elaborate roadways, and villages in the garden, between the beans and peas. We explored the ditches, & picked bottles and wildflowers.  We blew bubbles and chewed gum, we swung on swings, and pushed when it wasn't our turn.  We played tag on the round bales.  We sat patiently behind the cows when it was calving season, waiting for the calves to be brave enough to approach and suck on our fingers and coats.  We would sit on Jack or Bell or Duke, the horses used for logging, and wrap their manes around our hands, and sit listening to them chew their hay.  We'd brush as much of them as we could reach, and climb up into the hay manger to scratch their heads.    
 We had bon fires, we sang songs, played games, and roasted marshmallows, we picked out the big and little dippers & waited for shooting stars.  We set off great firework displays, and all still remember our favorite... the burning school house.  When we came home at night, we were filthy, and we were exhausted.  

Of course, we got into plenty of trouble; used cattle prods on each other, closed the door and locked the smallest one in the chicken coop, giggled with delight as the hens got brave and started to circle her, we let her out just as she was on the verge of tears, and tried to plead our remorse when we let her out and and she threatened to tell her Mom.  Flooded the barn when we forgot to turn off the water spout, and made friends with the nervous heifers when we found their grain. 

We were engaged, and were engaging.  We listened to stories about horses and cattle and the people that tended them, the ones that shaped the land that we played on.  We learned about the good old days, and that they weren't always soo good or easy.    We learned how to sit still under an oak or a maple and listened to stories of who planted them.  We learned how to find and visit the grave sites of great grandparents and lost relatives, and thought quietly of what their lives were like.  We were curious, and asked questions, and were silent and respectful for tears when they were shed.  Each day was a new adventure, and we started them early in the day.

When I think about these things, I can step back into the moment and relive them.  I can feel the sun on my back, feel the warm breeze on my face.  I can smell the homemade bread, and I can taste those tuna & celery sandwiches, and hear the cows balling for their calves when they were weaned.  I have those vivid memories, because I lived them. 

What I see these days, are people having wonderful experiences, but they are not actually living them.  They are distracted by the desire to capture them, with their cameras, or, worse, their phones.    The thing with this is, although a photograph or a video is powerful media, it will never, ever be as strong as replaying a memory.  Also, it has been studied and said that scent, not sight, is the sense tied closest to memory recall.   It's funny that this thought has come to me, as a photographer.  

Seriously, am I saying this out loud, telling you to put your camera down?  No, I am not saying put your camera away.   What I am suggesting is that the next time you are out somewhere, really live the moment you are in.  Take time to take a picture with your minds eye, and not be distracted by setting up a composition.  Feel the breeze, smell the wind and listen to the laughter and voices.  Take a picture in your mind, and then capture a small element of it with your camera... or, in the case of a major event in your life... hire a professional to do it for you. 

To end, I'll share a picture, one of a total of 40 that I took from a trip that Ben and I took a few weeks ago to Cape Enrage.  I was tempted to take more, I could have totally just photographed the beauty all day, instead, we talked, we watched, and we listened, and we'll remember, not because of the pictures, but, because we were there.


  1. A lovely post with an excellent message. Well done.

  2. "we talked, we watched, and we listened, and we'll remember, not because of the pictures, but, because we were there."

    Chris you should be a writer as well.. Amazing.. you have a way of touching the inner soul in a person. Truly truly amazing!!!


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