Shared Observation Leads to Deeper Dialogue
One of my favorite stories is E. B. White's The Cricket in Times Square. My favorite part of the story has to be where Chester (the cricket) plays a concert in the manner most crickets simply chirp. The beautiful music makes the great hub of the great city go still as everyone stops to hear the music. Rich and poor, Liberal and Conservative, they all stop. For one brief moment the city is united in the appreciation of a gift. May I humbly suggest that we as a people need more moments like this.
I do not choose my hiking companions for political compatibility and the result has been some lively and thoughtful conversation in a magnificent setting. Away from the often set template of our default locations, we are free to observe... indeed challenged to observe. That is the whole point of an adventure.
One such shared adventure led to a discussion of Byrd's transportation improvements and the taxation enacted to accomplish it. Here in a verdant forum, ideas could be safely shared and pondered. This was not a Board of Supervisors meeting where points must be made and won, rather it was the seminar class that graduate students participate in. The application would come later.
My friend in that adventure succumbed years ago to a very painful death from cancer. He remains one of my favorite hiking buddies as I remember our times together. The last conversation I remember was our discussing the various ways to ascend Elliott's Knob, complete with trail map drawings on napkins. Such is the way friends should share information and ideas.
In the days of black and white film, photographers such as A. Aubrey Bodine would rely on line, composition and contrast to capture the subtleties of the season. This exercise is my attempt to emulate their methodology.