I went to Columbia River Park this afternoon to get some exercise and be near the water. I saw this guy standing there for a long time and asked him if he was thinking about going swimming. He smiled and told me he was praying and that his name was Knowledge.
We stood there and talked for almost an hour about money, about work and about peace of mind. By sheer coincidence neither of us have any of those things but we did seem to have a lot in common.
Confucius (allegedly) said: “The hardest thing of all is to find a black cat in a dark room, especially if there is no cat.” Thinking back to our conversation I believe that’s what he was trying to explain to me.
I was driving home after getting coffee this morning and saw an Amish farmer plowing his field. I almost always stop for horses so I decided to walk over to where he would end up and wait until he got close enough.
He seemed to be having some trouble and after about ten minutes ran into his barn to get something. After another ten minutes he ran back in again, this time coming back with a tractor. Since he was in the middle of a very large field I found an old milk crate and sat down to watch.
Finally I saw the horses heading towards me and told myself to wait until I could see the whites of their eyes, at the same time trying not to get the farmers face in the shot, some are OK with a photo and some are not.
Still sitting down with a perfect view I framed the shot and took about five. I felt I had at least one good one and got up to leave as the horses stopped to look at me. I didn’t know if they wanted to pose for more or were just confused, then I realized I was in their way.
The farmer smiled and said good morning then continued with what looked like a long day of work. The photos were all sharp but I couldn’t get the color right in Lightroom and black and white seemed like a cop out.
I have Photomatix Essentials that I got free from a photo magazine a while ago and uploaded just the one RAW file, then chose the default preset, saved it as a TIFF and imported it back into Lightroom. Usually you’ll want to upload several bracketed images but this was just an experiment.
It turned out surprisingly well and brought the blue back to what was a very gray sky. I don’t use this software much because the results are usually a little overdone but it was better than deleting a photo I spent almost 45 minutes to take.
This is one of the stars of Aaron and Jessica’s Buggy Rides in Bird-In-Hand Pennsylvania. He pulls tourists around at a blistering speed of 5 miles per hour several times a day, day after day, month after month, and year after year.
It’s not a bad job compared to the work other horses do on farms but he hates every second of it. He feels that he’s wasting his life, that he could be doing something better, more important. At times he considerers faking a leg injury but worries he might end up as glue.
Eventually they will throw him a retirement party and give him a gold shoe for his years of faithful service, and let him live out the rest of his life doing whatever old horses do. He’ll stand in the middle of a field and stare into space, wondering what to do now, and what it all meant.
And he might realize that his job wasn’t so bad after all. He was good at it and he was needed, he had friends that liked him although he bitched and moaned all the time. He might realize that he could have made the best of it and even enjoyed it.
Alan W. Watts once said: “This is the real secret of life – to be completely engaged with what you are doing in the here and now. And instead of calling it work, realize it is play.” Even if you do the same thing for the same people in the same place over and over again.