Dust In The Wind
“I close my eyes only for a moment, and the moment’s gone
All my dreams pass before my eyes, a curiosity…” – Kansas
One thing is for certain, long exposure photography gives plenty of time for among other things… contemplation.
There is a rural cemetery about twenty minutes from where I live. It’s right beside a paved two lane highway. I knew that the cemetery was there. I have photographed the church that is on the same property a few times before. Never had it occurred to me to take a few minutes to check the cemetery.
I was on my way home from having taken photos earlier in the day. When I first passed this spot the skies were cloudless. Not so on the way back.
With afternoon convection puffy clouds were forming all around me. I thought why not stop for a few minutes and check things out?
I grabbed my camera body, the one modified for infrared and tripod and made my way out to the old pine tree that was sitting on the edge of the burial ground. It was an old, old pine. You don’t see many pines out this way. Obviously it wasn’t native to here which made me wonder who had planted it? When and why did they plant it? It had to be at least 75 years old.
I set up the camera under the old pine, set the exposure, (four minutes) and waited. As I waited and was taking in the surroundings I saw names on the headstones. Each one had a story I thought. Most of the names were Ukrainian which is common to this part of the province. Just like my relatives who came here from eastern Europe over one hundred years ago. They lived in a strange place with strange customs, a strange language and far, far away from their family and friends.
It wasn’t easy for them I am sure. But with the hardships came rewards. Like my great-great-grandfather before me who emigrated he left a place of relative comfort, he was a blacksmith, to find a better situation for his family. He worked building the railway for two years before he could save enough money to repay his benefactor and send for his family.
I moved through the cemetery watching clouds drift aimlessly overhead as they have done for millions of years obvlivious to the stories that unfolded below them.
A thousand years from now we will all be dust in the wind and the clouds will still be telling their own story.