Barefoot & Half Naked

The weather has changed in Pittsburgh. Autumn has arrived, the nights are cold, the mornings are misty and damp and the light is late to wake up. Seasonal changes in Pittsburgh are not brought in by the calendar as much as it is brought in by a dramatic storm.

Couple days ago we lost power in our home; first time in four years in our new home. A microburst storm blew through our community ripping down trees and power lines. The storm took only about twenty minutes to end summer and bring in autumn.

During the storm I was driving home from the store. I watched a tree fall across the road in front of me blocking the roadway. An older man and I get out of our cars and start trying to pull a tree out of the road during the middle of the storm; two strangers meeting in the street.

This is when I realized how happy my life is…

I am standing in this street with no shoes on and no shirt on. Why? Because moments before I was running out of the grocery store to my car and I got soaked, completely drench. The temperature dropped from high eighties to low sixties. I was freezing. So I took off my shirt, ripped off my shoes (5 fingers are not good in a rain storm, at all) turned up the heat and drive home in the storm. One of the things that I hate about driving in a storm is that you cannot enjoy music in your car no matter how loud you turn it up.

Loud music, even louder storm and then a crashing tree in front of me; the odd thing was there was no sound. It was like watching a scary movie when they play classical music in the middle of a crazy Freddy Krueger scene. I watched the tree fall, roots ripped out of the soil. No sound, eerie…

Next the old man and I struggle with the tree with no luck. Then he notices the barefoot half naked man working alongside of him.

This moment was one of those moments of clarity. Like one of those moments at the last ten minutes of any TV mystery show. The camera pans in on the lead character, s/he looks up at the sky and at that moment you know that they have the answer (typical scenes like these have classical music playing during the epiphany…just an fyi).

As this man is staring at me half naked and barefoot I tell him I’m in my work clothes. He laughs, we struggle with the tree, and he says to me in his drenched suit, "Wish I had a job like yours."

I am free.

Photography provides me with a life of work on my on terms (most days).