This week I’m looking to my older images for some uplifting to my spirits. Looking back reminds me of why I enjoy photography even when I am challenged with my depression.
It was during a trip in 2014 to Toronto, Ontario that we came across a group of retired trains. Polished and lined up in the central yard here they stand silent as if they were quietly waiting their last run out.
Encompassing the yard are the old spiral tracks leading back to the large doors that once served as their homes. Time has long since passed since these engines left the yard, but their memories of travels still remain. The numbers above each door designating the train it held.
If we were having coffee, it would be outside on Sunday morning at 6:30 am with our cameras fighting the bitter cold winds, while trying not to fall down on the ice covered concrete of the boardwalk. Ah yes, the quest of every photographer – the morning light.
Living on the shores of the St. Clair River across from Port Huron, Michigan the northern winds can cause the waves to crash up to 30 feet high, and pushing the spray up to 80 feet back from the shoreline. The resulting chilly wonderland is breathtaking when the temperatures drop.
After the heavy winds of Saturday subdued, I seized the opportunity get up early and capture the golden hues of sunrise as it pushed through the cloudy skies before yet another snow storm hit our city. While the storms have been small, the ice they leave behind is amazing!
While the following morning lacked the splash, the images where just as beautiful. My only wish is that it hadn’t been so cloudy. The slightest pink sunrise was very fleeting, and the poking of the sun was all too brief to get some sparkling images of the ice.
I’m sorry I missed our coffee date this weekend, but the benches were too cold to sit on anyway.
Every year as spring approaches the winter ice flow pushes litter that laid deep beneath the water, leaving it exposed and raw. The beach is lateen with trash! The ugly truth to our unconscious actions revealed. Instead of the inviting sands provided in the summer there is the disgusting results of our shameful activities.
In 2009 while visiting a favorite spot our family found an old TV screen on the beach. The plastic sides encased in Zebra Muscles making it look like a trinket from an ocean gift shop! Sadly this is what is in our Great Lake waters.
I wonder how it ever it made into the water, or better yet, who would have thrown it away when it could have been recycled properly. Was it all together when they tossed it into the water? The prevalence of garbage on the beaches after the winter thaw is always disheartening. The amount of plastics we find is increasing each year.
Our family tries to help clean up the areas where we visit. Taking along a bag of our own, we pick up trash and deposit into the bins for pick up. Unfortunately our bags are made of plastic too. There doesn’t seem to be much else around these days.
I remember having the choice to have paper or plastic bags at the grocery store. Now the push is on for adding to the income of the plastic producers as you have the option of purchasing the five cent disposable bag or the two dollar recycled plastic coated sacks to reduce the use of disposable ones. It’s an unwinnable argument on recycling. The plastic from the disposables make the other, but regardless of which neither will break down.
When the times come, and we finally realize the amount of garbage produced outweighs us in pounds, what will be our solution? We’ve destroyed where we live in the name of everything we can think of, yet we’ve also tried to save it a bit at a time. The question on my mind, will there ever be a balance?
Look around you; how many items within a three foot radius are made from plastic. The keyboard your typing on, your mouse your navigating with, the screen you’re reading my words on, and even the speakers you’re listening to music through… all plastic. The modern age of progress is killing us, yet I don’t believe we have the capacity to stop the evolution of destruction to our planet. We’ve all become so technologically advanced, connected as one, that to take away the element of plastic would be like a death to our civilization.
My family grew up with the railroad in our blood it would seem. My dad was a yardsman, my step-father an engineer. In 2015 while visiting my oldest daughter in Markham Ontario we stopped downtown to view old locomotives.
They still thrill me, as I remember being in the engine sitting of the laps of men pushing cars around in the yard. That was long before the age of tightened security and risk management.
The old shanty were Dad worked was torn down years ago, and the yard is mostly desolate these days as the lines are slowly shutting down. As for the local commuter train, you have to be an early riser as it leaves once a day at 6:15 am, and returns late in the evening at 10:30 pm.
After Dad passed, Mom and I traveled by rail across the western provinces a couple of different times. I got to witness the Rockies from the inside, watched summer storms flash across the prairies from a car with a glass roof, and looked down into vast waters with nothing holding us up but a wooden bridge. It was all astonishing.
I’m glad to have the good fortune to do all that traveling as a kid. seems most people just want to do everything quicker, and bring along all sorts of distractions. Traveling by rail is slow, but it takes you on such an adventure just by watching out a window.
As I looked into the red window I could feel the ghost of the engineer leaning out into the fresh air, watching the rails ahead and I thought to myself, “I wonder what he saw all those years while traveling the iron?”