Edie said today, that we are already half-way through the year. I thought about that and it feels to me like the year hasn’t even started yet, but also, like the year just ended. And so it goes for those of us whose lives tick on an academic calendar, those of us for whom New Year’s Eve is a midpoint of sorts and these humid days of summer are an interstice improbably carved out in between years.
That’s how it was when we were kids, wasn’t it? In between the years was a dream-time, a fiery affair with lost love, the burn of things to overexposure where heightened sensitivities sang themselves to numb and the silences broke through, a drowsy glance between friends on waking from an unplanned nap after a sun-drenched day at the beach, the moment around a campfire when it was perfect that we had all run out of things to say and there was nothing left but to listen to licks of yellow flame crack open the vascular secrets of fallen trees.
Summer wasn’t just a season, it was a land unto itself, an island of time as viscerally immediate and easily lost as song lyrics screamed into the rush, out the rolled-down windows of racing cars on gravel roads under cotton-clouded skies too perfect to be noticed except in retrospect, and suspect then, subject to the machinations of nostalgia and memory.
Usually when I am in a car, I’m driving, so it’s a great pleasure when I’m on a trip, short or long, and someone else is behind the wheel. That’s when I get to be behind the camera. These shots were taken on the return journey from Calgary to Banff (with my brother driving and my nephew in the back seat giggling like a fiend in the wind every time I rolled the window down to shoot). Really big fields of canola always seem slightly surreal to me, a color too rich and too bright to be real under dotted skies that stretch out forever.
We had the opportunity last summer, to stay in a little red cottage on a cliff overlooking the Atlantic in Pouch Cove, Newfoundland. I was pretty exhausted from the school year’s work, so I was more than content to just sit on the deck and stare at the sea. And I found it totally mesmerizing. How subtle shifts in the clouds changed the way the light hit the ocean, the way the weather moves like a room full of ballroom dancers, all moving together and yet somehow each part doing its own unique thing. My favorite of these is the one with the ship in it (in the bottom left-hand corner), so small and charging ahead into all that grey. It might be worth mentioning, too, that these shots are not in black & white. These are the greys of Newfoundland in all their glorious color.