There’s nothing like a bypass operation to put some perspective into your life. You taste mortality and realize the fragility of being alive. With it comes an appreciation of life and all living things. As I’ve recuperated over the summer, I’ve enjoyed the outdoors as never before. In addition it’s been an extraordinary summer.
Record amounts of rainfall have kept lawns green and blossoms in bloom longer than normal. By August our lawns are usually scorched and the late-blooming summer flowers pose against a dry backbround. Not this year. Everything is verdant.
I started the summer with very short walks that taxed the limit of my endurance. As my strength increased, I began carrying extremely lightweight cameras, gradually working up to the Nikon D40 that I bought especially for the rehab period. The length of my walks increased and as I developed more strength I bought a bicycle to add variety to my exercise regimen and to increase the radius of my travels. Both the D40 and the bicycle were great additions and I’ve developed a relatively safe method of packing the D40 into a padded bag that fits on the rack over the back wheel. With this I’ve been able to get shots of new places like the lakeshore view in front of the Adamson Estate and the mouth of the harbour where the Mississauga Sailing Club is located.
One side effect of my recovery surprised me a little. I find I have less interest in owning several types of camera than I did previously. My new impulse is to simplify and thin my gear collection. As a result I sold my Hasselblad kit — probably the nicest bit of gear I’ve ever owned, but gear I wasn’t using much. I used the proceeds to upgrade my Nikon D200 to a Nikon D300. I wasn’t able to carry around a heavy DSLR like the Nikon D300 until recently. Now it’s my main camera for walks on most days. I like using different lenses with it, mainly older Nikon AIS lenses that I also use on my Nikon film bodies. I particularly like using my Nikkor AF 24mm f/2.8 on the D300, as in this photo of early morning sunshine and haze outside our front door.
But most of all, I’m enjoying the summer itself — its sunny days and rainy days, hot days and cool days. And all the creatures, including humankind, enjoying the summer’s bounty.
I’m not a religious person, but I remain in awe of the evolution of life on this planet and I’m thankful to be a conscious being able to appreciate its beauty. A planet that can produce beings who can contemplate, and magnificent birds like ospreys to inspire those beings, is a very special place, and this summer has been a special chapter in its long story.