March 18, 2015


Standing in patches of light spilling onto the floorboards from open windows and doors, I breathe in and out along with the house. Spring is in. Praise be. I have dug a hole in the basement and buried my winter coat for good and I'm never wearing socks again.


In and out. We move about in and out. 

When you took me for a Sunday drive and we stopped at a place I had never been before, I was filled with a sudden urge to spring from the truck and run into the landscape calling my name. You never seem surprised by this instinct and I have long lost the urge to apologize for it. We ran up Mount Nebo like two children and I laughed with pure delight, out of breath and windswept as we reached the summit. Elevation 392 meters. My camera lay forgotten on the bench seat. I was relieved to note you thought to grab yours before racing after me. I took coy photos of you with my minds eye, watching you watch the land you love, squatting on your haunches in appropriate footwear. Collar up. We traded places and I roamed around like a ram, seeking out the melting place to wade in just for the hell of it. I heard the mirror from your big camera slap the back of my neck. Collar up. The lines around your eyes settled into a sort of Sunday contentment that can only come from an easy afternoon of walking land with loved ones, drinking coffee from a thermos on the drive toward your favourite place and standing in the wind as it pelted the skin with kicked up dust. 

Spring energizes the soul me. I shot so many photographs on Sunday, inspired beyond belief by the bare landscape underfoot, finally revealed. The blanket ripped from the bed at last.

Ever glad to discover the trusty old Voigtlander deep in my bag, loaded with contrast. I fired the trigger without any sense of urgency or hesitation while watching you move easily alongside your brother through the hazy 90 year old viewfinder. Strapping sons at play in a barnyard. First Sunday of spring was good for the soul. Cows, dust, shit, sand, soil, runoff. I have lost count how many times I have scrambled up that Manitoban mountain once more in my head just to watch you watch that patchwork below. 

To close, here is a favourite poem by Anne Michaels titled Depth of Field plucked from her collection The Weight of Oranges / Miner's Pond.

We've retold the stories of our lives
by the time we reach Buffalo,
sun coming up diffuse and prehistoric
over the Falls.

A white morning,
sun like paint on the windshield.
You drive, smoke, wear sunglasses.

Rochester, Camera Capital of America.
Stubbing a cigar in the lid of a film cannister,
the Kodak watchman gives directions.

The museum's a wide-angle mansion.
You search the second storey from the lawn,
mentally converting bathrooms to darkrooms.

A thousand photos later,
exhausted by second-guessing
the mind which invisibly surrounds each image,
we nap in a high school parking lot,
sun leaning low as the trees
over the roof of the warm car.

Driving home. The moon's so big and close
I draw a moustache on it and smudge the windshield.
I stick my fingers in your collar to keep you awake.
I can't remember a thing about our lives before this morning.

We left our city at night and return at night.
We buy pineapple and float quietly through the neighbourhood,
thick trees washing themselves in lush darkness,
or in the intimate light of streetlamps.
In summer the planer's heavy with smells of us,
stung with the green odour of gardens.
Heat won't leave the pavement
until night is almost over.

I've loved you all day.
We take the old familiar Intertwine Freeway,
begin the long journey towards each other
as to our home town with all its lights on.

1 comment:

  1. M. This poem is incredibly moving (as are the accompanying imagery/words).
    Thank you for opening my eyes to it.