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Thursday, July 19, 2012


This is an image that was made back in '77 along a dirt road atop the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia.

Funny how an image like this will suddenly come to mind, but we have had a few discussions in our household lately about aging and how one's life changes to compensate for those things we used to take for granted.

I was sitting here doing some work at the computer yesterday afternoon when my wife Pat walked in and asked me why I was leaning forward in my chair. "Are you having trouble seeing" she said. Damn Right! I thought. Do you see that eight point type down there? Well, I either lean forward and crunch my spine, or I reach over there and grab my trusty magnifying glass. Small type drives me nuts. It has for years. This is why I ask my computer friends to use 14 point type. It reduces the wear and tear on my back. Bottom line, my eyes are not what they used to be, but, by golly, I can still see well enough to do the things I enjoy the most. Like my photography.  It is nice to know that both my Nikon cameras have automatic focusing. And I have actually used this feature. It works great, but it takes some of the fun out of photography. But, when you need it, it is nice to have.

When I made this image, I was using my trusty 2 1/4 camera with square film negatives, and by golly, I could spot the individual hairs on Mr. Wheeler's face. I can still clearly see his face, but I am not sure I could count his whiskers.  I'm certainly not betting my life on it. Then, I would most certainly have to lean way over to the side and grab my trusty magnifying glass. Dad used to use this glass when he was still alive, so it now has a personal attachment to  me.

 I have passed the big 75 mark, and I jokingly refer to myself as an official member of the old fart's club. Besides, a few aches and pains, I am still in pretty good shape.

Mr. Wheeler appears to be about my age, and he wears glasses, so we had a good start in being able to relate to one another. He also has a beautiful old dog that will sit contently beside him, even along a deserted old country road. So, I was immediately drawn to this old fellow from the mountains and his dog. It is one of my most memorable images. 

And while we are on the subject of aging, I will simply say that when I took early retirement from Radford University back in the early nineties, we both became busier than ever, and it has never stopped. And do you know what?  I think that is one of the reasons that my wife and I are still going strong and look forward to many more active years. I may have shifted down a notch from high gear to second, but the old brain is still active, and with my trusty hiking stick in hand, I will head off to the mountains and canyons and return home feeling better than ever; particularly if I captured a few nice photographs along the way. 

How does one feel about life in general at seventy seven?  Well, for me, I simply take it one day at a time and be thankful that I was not hit by a train or a bus. We all know that the ax could fall at any minute; even while crossing the street, and you cannot help but think about it, but there is no point in dwelling on the subject. I see my old friends and acquaintances dropping like flies every year, but in my mind, at least, life goes on, and when  someone asks me which of my images would I pick as my all-time favorite, I would have to say, "The image that I will make tomorrow, or next week." And that is just how matters stand on this Hot day in SW Colorado.  The clock continues to tick.

jj   June 19, 2012

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