I haven’t had the chance to sit here on a Saturday morning, coffee in hand, for a while. I thought I’d take a few moments to post some things I’ve been pondering recently. This isn’t so much about photography — it’s more about life and priorities. Bear with my rambling…
Man, the years do go by. I just turned 62 the other day… my daughter turned 18 in March, and graduated from high school this past week. Suddenly I’m officially retired and going on social security, and getting ready to send my kid off to college. Good grief…
I don’t really dwell on age all that much, but after 60 it started sinking in that I’m not going to be on this planet forever. It’s not that I expect to tip over dead soon or anything — if I follow in the footsteps of my dad and great-grandfather I have another 30 or 40 years ahead of me — but I need to focus on what’s really important, what my priorities have to be. So what’s really important?
Time. Time is important. Not so much how many years are left, but what to do with it and what not to waste it on. Where I live is important, but not the main consideration right now. I’ll get back home when the time is right. Photography, writing, wilderness, activism… these are the real driving forces in my life, and what I will spend my time working on, but even those are sort of on the back burner for a while yet.
I had a good birthday. I spent the day out about town with my daughter, and a good part of the evening on the phone with my son in San Francisco. He calls faithfully on holidays and birthdays and such, and we always have a good chat. It makes me realize how lucky I am… with both kids it’s not just a parent/kid relationship. We’re like good friends too, and that’s a good place to be. Being involved in their lives is a big priority. Right now, for me, it’s the biggest. Montana is on the horizon for me… maybe this fall, maybe a little later. I’ll get there when the time is right. The main thing now is to get my kidlet off to college and safely launched into adulthood. I can’t promise her safety, security, and smooth sailing — nobody can do that — but I can promise her all the support I can give. Hopefully it’ll be enough.
Though it may seem like it, my photography and blogging aren’t totally dormant. They’ve just taken a backseat to other things for a while. Lately I’ve been taking my phone camera out on the streets of the neighborhood I’m living in the middle of — Koreatown — and another sort of well known area up the street a ways called Hollywood. I want to bring this blog back to it’s Montana roots and it might not be very active, so I set up another temporary one that will feature the photography I’m doing for my remaining time here in LA, and it’s where I’ll be doing most of my posting about being here. You can check it out here.
In the meantime, there’s much to do and much to get ready for. Keep in touch.
This was originally posted on buzztail a couple of years ago. Thought I’d bring it back here.
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Who knows what’s in store for the next few years as far as wilderness protection is concerned. Efforts to protect our wild lands have always taken a back seat to other concerns, mostly economic. I’m not at all sure that they haven’t now been locked away in the trunk.
We’re wild animals. We need wildness as much as the grizzly and gray wolf do to fully function as living breathing free human beings. We’ve accepted confinement and captivity in the canned existence we call modern life, but captivity leads to insanity — just ask any lab rat or caged wolf.
We need wide open spaces. We need silent and unspoiled places. We need the raw and the rugged and the untamed. We need places to stretch our eyes out and to see beyond the little tunnels we scurry around in. We need places to let our spirits loose to soar with the eagles. We need to encounter places and other living beings that are big enough and strong enough to put us in our proper place. We need to come back down to earth in a literal sense.
We need the wild to connect with our true nature. If we destroy it for mere money, we’ll be tragically diminished and impoverished, no matter how much money we pile up. We’ll be little more than caged rodents.
A exasperated questioner once asked Bob Marshall how much wilderness we really needed. His reply is classic:
How many Brahms symphonies do we need?
Great answer, no?
Today my daughter insisted on dragging me downtown to this bookstore she discovered, The Last Bookstore. After a sufficient period of crabbing and whining about having to go downtown I of course relented. So we got on a bus and away we went.
There was much Cinco de Mayo festivity going on today. I prowled around the booths a bit, but nothing really caught my eye until I saw this fragment of curb by my feet. It alone was worth the bus fare.
The bookstore is pretty cool too…
pj johnson -- photographer
the american west
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