One of my favorite photos to date. It has hung in our kitchens ever since.
Apologies for the pun in today’s headline. What “pushin'” refers to is the photographic technique. A professor of photography at the University of Montana (where I attended my freshman year) had us try a different type of exposure technique. We used light meters to measure the darkest part of the scene, then took the photo with Tri-X film. The camera was set to an ASA of 6000. We developed the film ourselves, pushing it a certain amount. I don’t remember how much, but I wouldn’t think you would have to push it a lot with those settings. The photo above is unretouched, uncropped.
Five years ago my wife was stressed. I had just stepped off of yet another cliff of human existence, symbolizing yet again my affinity for The Fool in the tarot deck (at least the one interpreted by zen versions of the deck). Despite well-paying gainful employment with a consulting agency for over two years, I had aligned myself with a different agency. For four months I had managed to work about 60 hours (maybe) plus I had had a short-lived assignment with an “off the books” agency. We had just purchased a new home, taking on almost a quarter million dollars in debt. (sounds like a lot when it’s stated that way, doesn’t it?) On June 22nd, realizing my wife needed something to take her mind off of things, I planned to drive us over to Cedarock State Park an hour or so west of where we live. Just before we left, I received a call from the new agency to take a two-month contract. A week later that contract was “interrupted” by an open-ended contract which ultimately lasted nine months, leading into 2018, the year I earned more money than I ever thought I would earn in my life. I like to think that the spirit of our forebears, who didn’t limit themselves with “can’t” and instead explored their limitless possibilities, are exemplified in the construction techniques of this wall. It should not be able to withstand our weather here, but it does–just like we “shouldn’t” leave unsatisfying, limiting situations, but if we do…
Step off the Cliff of Can’t.
(to my mother, a bit, but mostly to me)
It begins like this, this path toward normalcy, the funeral two weeks past: One less beer before bed. Dreams versus nightmares. Willingly entering the jail of work. Discovering your face is smiling. Telling jokes. Wondering why your friends can't get along--then not caring. Considering your life may continue as once it did, an insensitive, joyous expression of "Yes I'm Alive"... Undermining this carefully cultured mourning pose you've adopted. And guiltlessly saying goodbye to it.