Last summer while driving home from photographing a meteor shower, I used a trucker’s lights to paint this image. He was driving down the same highway that is now obstructed for miles in both directions this side of a major border crossing.
I’m not proud of this weekend’s moment in Canadian history. Freedom is the currency being bartered for. What began as a demonstration closely tied to different mandates being required for unvaccinated truckers has gone south. I don’t believe that the mandate should have been implemented—for many, it was the final straw—coming at a time when the decision to vaccinate or not is still a personal one.
From gridlocks and blockades, to vandalism and desecration in cities across this country, it’s the smaller stories that sadden me the most. The ones that won’t make the national news because they are byproducts, not headliners, of an out of control event. How many lives are being affected because people cannot get to where they need to be, or have help get to them in a timely manner? And who will clean up the streets and highways after the protesters have dispersed? We aren’t just talking truckers here, had we been, I suspect the event would have had a different outcome. I don’t believe their intent was a call-to-arms for the fringe unvaccinated to descend from their social media thrones and disrupt essential workers trying to do their jobs. While protesting is legal, blocking a highway is not.
I’m disgusted. There are consequences to the decisions we make—freedom does have a currency.
I must confess to spending a large amount of time watching and photographing these birds. Last year I was fortunate enough to observe the parents of a deceased magpie as they held a funeral for the chick they’d lost. A large crowd of these corvids gathered under a pine tree where the nest had been, and on the third day, I buried the body once the funeral appeared to have concluded.
Often the first thing said is that they kill other birds and steal the eggs. Sometimes. But they also clean up large amounts of roadkill and last year, played a roll in controlling the grasshopper epidemic that plagued us throughout summer.
Magpies are capable of understanding that a mirror image belongs to their own body—a cognitive behavior in animals so far only demonstrated by apes, dolphins, and elephants. Then again, they have an extremely large brain size to relative weight, even larger than the African Grey parrot.
I find them to be quite human excepting for their lack of artifice. And maybe that’s what I like about them. Unlike humans, they do what they do and theydon’t pretend to be somethingelse. I can accept that, even the cruel bits that I don’t like to observe.
It reminds me of a Mark Manson quote. It’s better to be hated for who you are than be loved for who you aren’t.
Stories—the beginnings are fluid, with starting points somewhere in the timeline and often at a point of action. We don’t know what’s happened before and can only guess at the perils that lie ahead.
Images taken in nature are stories presented within four walls. There are no pages to turn and the cast of characters often remain unknown. They’re not always pretty.
I would liked to have lingered. Waited and perhaps discovered the rest of the tale. I have my suspicions—the heap of remaining flesh and fur spoke volumes—but maybe that’s someone else’s story.
I don’t think I could have photographed this several years ago, but I was a different person back then. Now, when presented with the opportunity, I study nature more closely. I celebrate its beauty and share in its moments of cruelty.
We’re all animals. The difference is some of us keep that hidden inside cloaked with a carefully constructed mirage, while others lay it right out there on the surface for everyone to see. Interesting how a walk in nature can open your eyes and feed your soul at the same time.
I began writing Into the Night (shake it off) last year after realizing that I had overcome my fear of the night once again. I couldn’t have done it without the patience and support of my husband—he gave back to me what I allowed someone else to take from me.
We are a product of everything we do and have done to us. That’s what I believe. I also believe that good and evil exists and their defining characteristics are not gender based. Gender can however play a role in how these qualities manifest.
Don’t allow fear to be a dictator—empower yourself. Surround yourself with people whose actions don’t raise questions and distance yourself from those whose do. Be ruthless. It might be tough at first but it gets easier over time.