Our lives are full of milestones and passages. Birth being a prime one of course, then everything else that happens along the way. These past few weeks have been full of milestones for me. Another birthday, my first trip outside Canada since Covid, a major move for a family member, major surgery for another family member and the loss of a friend and coworker.

Each was a collection of emotions – I guess that’s really what defines a passage. If there was no emotion, it would be just another day.

I’m left with a desire to share the emotions of those moments, while preserving my own and others privacy. Kind of an odd mix. But I guess we discover things about ourselves as we go through these passages and share them.

I’ve always been a bit of a loner, never really relying on anyone for anything. That has really changed since I’ve moved well beyond my 50th year. I’ve realized that from a purely practical point of view, I can’t do it all anymore – even hauling the groceries from the car up 5 steps to the house is a huge chore some days.

My photography has been such a gift in light of that. Something I do for myself, satisfying the loner in me, and something I share with others through this website, social media and direct interactions such as presentations. I have come to enjoy it all equally, but know when each has to take precedence.

I’ve just returned from a photography excursion to Chicago, in the United States. An architectural mecca, it provides an almost unlimited source of creativity for people like me who relish lines, shapes, angles and texture. For the most part, people photograph architecture face on, in full, in full colour. Travelogues are full of the documentary shots of places visited. They are presented exactly as the eye see/saw them, except for the optical distortions inherent in many lenses. My challenge to myself was to present them in a unique way. To say to you what they said to me. And I could not wait to share them with all of you.

Prior to that trip, family members had their own milestone events, including a move into supported living, and major surgery. Both were successful, but both emphasized how fortunes can turn on a dime and force a change. We are a resilient species, but it takes a lot out of us. My only advice: fully enjoy what makes you happy, as there will come a time when you may not be able to.

I also lost a friend during this time. A long series of illnesses, culminating in a single catastrophic event. In some ways, it’s strange to call him a friend. I only knew him professionally, for about 2 years. But every once in a while, you meet an individual who lives the personal values that you aspire to for yourself. That was the case here. The example he set will stay with me for the rest of my life.

Grief is a bit different in this situation. It is more anger – that a good person had such a bad outcome. And once again I retreated, needing my own time to process it. Not quite done yet, but better. Again, some advice: celebrate those who inspire you and make them proud while they are still there to see it.

Oddly, the weather has been sunny and somewhat pleasant since these events. Prior to, it had been cold, cloudy, rainy and grey for a very long time. Hopefully the change is a sign of things to come.

2 thoughts on “Passages

  1. I echo Donna’s comments entirely. I will add a quote from Ayn Rand – Atlas Shrugged. ‘Pain is to be fought and thrown aside, not to be accepted as part of one’s soul and as a permanent scar across one’s view of existence.’


  2. You photography of the architecture in Chicago show your love of that particular type of capture. I have enjoyed them all. I am sorry you lost a good friend and mentor. Lately it seems I am surrounded by sorrow, including a mother’s day without Cindy. But I, too, am trying to celebrate the good things life has to offer. Bird photographer, gardening, time with my wee family, time with my friends. It all helps.


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