BACK TO THE FUTURE
After several months away from shooting for clients – a cross-country move and a summer job at the Pan Am Games limiting my availability – I’m back being a photographer. Recently, a long-standing client hired me to shoot an environmental portrait in Leamington, Ont. Yes!
It has been a exciting few months. In early May we watched as our stuff was loaded on to a moving van for our move to Amherstburg, Ontario, an historic town south of Windsor on the banks of the Detroit River. That day was the start of a complicated cross-country tango that saw us fly to Windsor to meet the furniture, fly back to Calgary to pick up our vehicle and camper trailer and then drive across the western flatlands through Northern Ontario and finally to our new home in southwestern Ontario.
Along the way we visited scores of friends and saw many members of our families. (Thanks to all for your hospitality.) Our decision to leave so many good friends in Calgary was a tough one, but we’ll be back to visit this winter and to continue our passion for skiing.
Three weeks after finally arriving in Amherstburg, I took the train to Toronto to start my stint as a photo venue manager at the Pan Am Games. It feels like I’ve spent more time away from home than at home. The move is still a work in progress. I’ve opened most of the boxes that line the basement, but storage must be built and a workroom finished before things normalize.
Why Amherstburg? We lived in Windsor/Essex for many years and have longstanding friendships that go way back. Within days of our arrival I was diving a shipwreck on the bottom of Lake Erie with old friends. Familiar and comfortable, it feels like I never left, even though it’s been 15 years.
I keep running into familiar faces at restaurants, wineries or even in the most Canadian of Canadian places – Canadian Tire. Sometimes I know who they are instantly, other times I don’t come up with a name until much later, recognition clouded by the intervening years.
In many ways, Calgary and Windsor/Essex couldn’t be more different. Calgary finds the oil that runs the cars and vans that Windsor builds.
Calgary: A martini town that makes beer. Windsor/Essex: A beer place that makes wine and whiskey.
Windsor: The Big Three rules. Calgary: Big trucks rule.
Calgary: Business tycoons are cultural heroes. Windsor: A good job is steady and preferably with a union card.
Alberta: Grain and beef. Essex County: A both plus corn and beans, fruits and vegetables, tomatoes, cucumbers and flowers under glass and the much-diminished fishery that pulls tasty perch from the green depths of Lake Erie.
Essex County: Pancake flat but surrounded by water. Calgary: Flat with rolling hills and magnificent mountains to the west.
The last leg of our cross-country tango followed the route I drove a lifetime ago when I moved to Windsor from Saskatchewan. I drove a less-than-reliable compact who’s starter died in Kenora. I found a replacement in Thunder Bay and donned my coveralls to replace it in the parking lot of a grocery store. This time a more reliable vehicle, but still the rugged scenery of the seemingly-endless Northern Shield.
Then I was apprehensive. A new job in a strange city where I knew no one. A move away from ‘home’.
That move worked out just fine and I know this one will too.