camera problems, challenges in a journey, feelings of defeat, frustration, grouchy, injury, isolation, lonely, nature, not everything is a bed of roses, outdoors, pain, questions, rain hail, storms, tent campers, travel, weather, what should I do with my life
That first morning when I awoke to find myself alone amongst the tall trees – not another human in sight.
Since then there had been campers every night and some of days during spring break vacations were busy.
And then I awoke to rain one morning. Actually at about 2 a.m. the rain began dancing on the trailer top and I went outside to roll up my awning and to store camp chairs and such under cover.
Some tent campers left during the night and in the morning there were two families left and both were complaining about leaky tents. By then the rain began turning to snow and the families were hastily packing all of their wet belongings and were inquiring about the road conditions. And then they were gone and I was left to embrace mother nature alone.
Snow, rain, hail, wind, thunder and lightening. Part of me could only sit and watch, mesmerized by the stark solitude. Disconcerted by the part of me that didn’t think that such a level of isolation was ever necessary. My mind didn’t ramble and I made no moves to busy myself or to forget my situation. I only allowed myself to feel what was real.
Snow and rain falling on the trailer sounds like a million gulls jumping up and down, having their shorebird pow wow. Occasionally a pelican would plop unceremoniously onto the dance floor, causing me to run outside to make sure that a tree branch hadn’t landed on the roof.
The constant barrage of plops and crashes all about me were continually startling. I felt exposed in a war zone of sorts. It took quite some time before my nerves began to settle but even now, as the snow melts from those tall trees, a loud crash makes my body jiggle. What a strange word to come up with, jiggle, but that is the way it feels when maybe what is a slight tremor begins above my right eye and squiggles on down until I let it go.
Through all of the weather, until shortly before the storm began to ease, leaving behind several inches of white fluff, the power kept chugging away with only some slight hesitations during the thunder storm. But the snow was heavy and I knew it couldn’t end without taking away my connection to the outside world.
I’m not sure how long the power had been off yesterday before I noticed that lights were no longer glowing. Probably not long. I then began the prepare for boon docking and more lessons about my new trailer.
The snow beginning to clear and patches of sunlight lighting the tops of trees and hour after hour I spent obtaining fuel for the generator and then trying to make it run. I wanted so badly to grab the camera and the snowshoes, which were already out, and head off into the forest. That reminds me, I was preparing for a snowshoe trek when I noticed the power was out. I was ready for some recreation, some enjoyment of the winter weather but instead my basic survival methods were running full steam ahead.
The last thing that I would need were frozen pipes because the heat had quit working.
I cried just a little – my frustration over the continual struggles. A little poor me time felt appropriate. I could so use some calm streams and some effortless sailing. This constant trying to fix something has me worn out to the max. The cameras, the trailer, surviving in the wilderness, the efforts to stay in contact and to not feel quite so alone, where to buy groceries, where to get internet, where to get cell service – most of which is just learning and adapting.
But the cameras. Between the continually dirty sensor on the D700 and the ongoing D7000 struggle, I have been battling cameras continuously for nearly a year. I often wonder why keep going, why keep trying. I wonder if the universe is telling me to stop – letting me know that I am wasting my time. During long quiet hours I ponder these questions and meditate over what my function in this world is supposed to be.
One can not imagine, unless having been through it, what it feels like to be forced into retirement at the age of 35. The loss of identity and ability to adequately care for myself were the hard parts. I so needed to feel productive and useful but suddenly was no one to anyone. I was not, in my mind, a productive member of society. Over the years I have struggled hard to reverse this situation. Every time I have faced defeat, most often due to bizarre circumstances that I could not have controlled.
Shunned by my body, family, love, and ability to work, I felt like a useless nobody.
And so, I have optimistically moved forward with the photography, writing and travels. But, as I’ve chronicled my experiences it is obvious that something is not working somewhere. I keep moving forward because what else would I do?
The truth is that if you read the entire book of the bad luck charm named Deby, you would not believe that one person could experience so much. Shame has persistently followed me and continually threatened to beat me down. But, I reasoned, one can not make life more positive with lingering feelings of worthlessness. And so, with traveling and photography, I have pushed forward.
But the challenges, in their endless nature, are once again threatening to be too much. Even the most optimistic and upbeat person would begin to waver now. I can’t fulfill my goals and my mission without equipment that works.
Yesterday afternoon, when I finally just walked away from the generator and power issues, wearing only a coat and hat as winter wear, I walked through the forest with my camera. I wasn’t sure how I wanted to capture the snow in the forest. Clods of heavy white stuff were falling from the trees, often smacking me in the head, and I had to protect the camera from the elements.
Off I walked, following a natural gully, near where I had tripped several days ago, and a small flow of water leading down to the meadow. Eventually I realized that I was following an unseen creature that had been “marking” trees and logs. I began checking for prints, seeing some that were small and fox like, others that were slightly bigger and cat like and still others that were fairly large and very cat like. The big cat prints seemed to end abruptly and I looked around – that eerie feeling of being watched. But I kept on with my trek through the forest and the meadow, taking photos despite not knowing if they would turn out or not.
The camera issue so heavy on my mind…
I sent the D7000 back, along with one of my lenses, and have opted to keep the D700 until I have a working camera in my possession. Still, the thoughts of the special editing certain photos would require was plaguing me. Should I quit? I needed to know if I should quit.
And then, at some point near the end of the hike, I realized that my hands would feel empty without a camera and my heart would never feel full unless I were taking photos. If I allowed these issues to stop my journey, I would always wonder what would have happened next. Would the camera situation have finally eased off and would I have been able to thoroughly enjoy taking photos again? What would I have missed? I try not to think of all that I have missed due to camera problems. Try to forget all of the out of focus photos that have been taken with a D7000 – all of the great opportunities that were crushed.
I keep moving forward. No one can live under the curse of bad luck forever – eventually things have to change. My job is to keep going, carefully, one step at a time, and to wash away these feelings of doom and defeat. To plaster that smile on my face with meaning, passion and honesty and to keep going.
****Story continued in next post