It is the season of the summer.
It is the time, once again, to bring out the crazy patchwork quilt of days; some already stitched in place and some yet to be created.
It is the season when summer days stretch endlessly; sort of like the relentless blue of a sky that goes on to forever.
I like summer a lot, which is rather weird, being I live in a province where the bloom of the season vanishes almost as quickly as the Alberta rose disappears from roadside ditches. And, even though I visualize the sunshine as this wonderful golden haze that spills over everything, more often than not, it is in liquid form and drowns everything.
Despite all this, there are moments of summer that will live in my mind forever in a really good way, even though I will admit they may be sparked ever so slightly by sentiment and are, no doubt, enhanced by time.
This year, oddly enough, one of the events that turned out to be a memory maker for me was the local rodeo.
In actual fact, I would not have attended said rodeo, except for my job.
As sometimes happens when we do something because we have to, not because we want to, there are unexpected, unexplained surprises.
And unexplained delights.
I trudged into the rodeo grounds, lugging this huge camera with a super-sized lens. I looked around for the best place to stand, sit, kneel or crouch, which is what you need to do if you are a photographer trying desperately to get an in-focus, action-type photo.
I was soon to discover the right place to be was usually the place where I was not.
Despite that, I kept trying and I kept watching and somewhere in-between I wolfed down a corn dog.
I felt momentarily better as I was starving. I felt totally justified in eating the corn dog, because I was, after all, at a rodeo. I told myself healthy food like fruit and fish and sissy lettuce leaves do not belong here among the real men and women of the west.
I’m not exactly sure what magic marker is used to color small town rodeos with the happy face of summer, but whatever it is it works.
And, somewhere along the way, between shooting pictures and trudging to the ever-illusive best place to shoot these pictures, I accidentally became a rodeo fan.
I even began to think about buying cowboy boots with which I could scuff dirt and other unmentionable things and one of those hats that seem really big probably because they are.
I know, of course except for my imagination, which is quite vivid, that won’t happen, but I did develop a newfound respect for people who rodeo, people who help with the rodeo and people who announce at a rodeo.
And I appreciate the fact the fans are smart enough to know attending a rodeo somewhere in downtown, Alberta is not such a bad way to spend a summer afternoon.
I’m thinking if I were rich, as in dollars and cents rich, I would go on a vacation somewhere where “work” was a four-letter word not to be used much, if at all.
Reality states I am not, nor will probably ever be, dollar and cents rich, so I have to make do with what is here in my own sun-soaked or rain-drenched province.
And, in reality, that is not such a bad thing.
There is lots to do right here, right now, and it is amazing, how quickly one more crazy quilt square of summer can be created simply by living in the moment.
And, later, I can, of course, recreate the moment, sort of like that good golf shot I had back in 2010.
Or was it 2008?
— On the Other Side