Some enlightenment philosopher – I forget which one – noted that humans were stuck in an existential trap, caused by artificial needs. Well, he didn’t use the word ‘existential’ but his point was the same. In our consumerist society we are all pumped up to acquire crap that really does nothing for us. It may assuage our anger, briefly, or seemingly justify the sacrifices we make to jobs or debt, but at the end of the day most Americans are just living to participate in the ‘crap cycle’ – consume crap, produce crap, consume some more…
It’s all about wanting more. As Bob Marley put it – “Now that you got what you want, do you want more? You think it’s the end, but it’s just the beginning….”
There’s not much that I want. I want Time, and I’ve taken Time. Having a nice car is something, having a big house is something more, having a boat and time share – even more. But all those things just hitch back to the yoke. If you want to be truly extravagant – take a year, or more, and do what you want to do. Time is the most precious thing…
But to do that requires a little re-calibration. One way I recalibrate is to drive my cars for a long time. A really long time. And so last week I was in the local garage, getting routine maintenance done. I was lingering in the parking lot after dropping the car off – the garage was closing, I was waiting for a ride home, the late afternoon sun was dazzling in the clear blue sky.
Good Used Tires. Edtir. Somehow the rack caught my eye and imagination. I don’t need much. Give me some good used tires and the light of the sun, and I’ll be ready to roll. …
I’m not sure how good a job the mechanics did, though. A week later an unusual snow storm swept through the area. The first snow usually doesn’t stick, but then the first snow usually doesn’t come in early October, and usually doesn’t lay down several inches of wet flakes.
But the first snow also brings an almost visceral response. Maybe it’s a holdover from childhood, but there is something exciting about every snowfall, and the first snowfall is more exciting than any other.
So on this day I drove to my job through the driving snow, only to get the and find steam pouring out from the hood of the car. A loose radiator hose – fortunately, I had hung a show a few days earlier, and my picture-hanging toolkit was still in the back of the car. A few turns of the screwdriver and the radiator hose seemed to be on nice and tight and new.
Just to make sure, I stole away and test drove the car, firing away with the Holga (I only took two shots of the used tire rack).
The photos of this year’s first snow don’t covey the sense of excitement that I felt at seeing the snow fall. But to be honest, that sense of excitement was tempered – in part by the freakish timing of the storm. But also there was the sense of drudgery and loss – another winter is coming, the summer photography season is for sure over. It’s hard, in Michigan at this juncture in time, not to feel a sense of malaise as the economy remains stuck n neutral, or slipping into reverse.
And so the shots of the first snow may not be as upbeat as I actually felt at the time – I was happy to see the snow, and happy that my repairs to the car worked.
Well, maybe later shots will be less jaundiced – at least the snow motivated me to clean out the garage and clear the space where I take snow crystal shots. The sheer simplicity of a snow crystals transcends all, right?
On a technical note – these shots were taken using J and C’s Classic Pan 400, developed in Rodinal1:50 (and wow the grain you get from that combo!)