Artist Statement Journal
know how payback will come.
road was clear and dry when I left home. I was on my way to Cortland to conduct another week of the
Electrician Apprentice program. I had been making the trip every
other week through the winter. The drive was a little more than
100 miles, and I preferred to travel it by local roads to take
in the scenery around the Finger Lakes of Upstate New York. I
gave myself plenty of time to drive slow and just observe.
I headed out
of the village of
on route 41 for the final leg over the hill to Cortland. Where the weather in the village was
calm and clear, it changed dramatically as I made my way up the
hill. A local overcast gradually started sprinkling enough to
wet the road pavement. Snow flurries appeared over the next
mile. Farther on, the wind kicked up, and the ground was turning
white. Before long, snow was accumulating on the road. My
vehicle made the only tracks.
conditions worsened at the top of the hill. There were now
drifts of wind-driven snow piling across the road. The
visibility was not a whiteout, but it was not too far from being
that. The hilltop ran along a high, exposed ridge for about ten
miles. My speed was down to a crawl. I hoped things would change
once I got off the high ground.
was a car trapped in a snowdrift. It was just off the road,
somewhat safely out of the way, but stuck in far enough that it
was not moving. A lone person was behind the wheel. The blizzard
conditions were miserable. I stopped to see if assistance was
needed. It was.
driver was a young woman, perhaps a late 20-something in age.
She seemed more irritated than concerned with her plight. Her
car had hopelessly spun into the soft and icy snow at the road
shoulder. She realized she needed help, and we both returned to
my vehicle to see what could be done.
cell phone had no service in that area. Our two vehicles had
been the only traffic along the road all the while. She lived
about five miles back from where we were. Could I give her a
ride back to her house? I stifled a moan as I turned the car
around and proceeded back into the storm. The drive back to her
house was just as nerve wracking as it had been in the opposite
my passenger safely home, I returned into the blizzard to face
those last miles again. The weather noticeably abated a few
miles beyond her stranded car. Thank God, I was on my way out of
serendipity intervened. Through the waning storm, I saw some
horses in a nearby field. They had been in a distant pasture,
walking into the wind to make their way back to the barn. Their
coloring was just discernable against the solid void background.
Sensing a photogenic scene, I stopped again, parked on the near
road shoulder, and scrambled over and through the snowdrifts for
a position to capture a good image of their ordeal.
only camera was a Kodak DC290. A good camera, but it had a
resolution of only two megapixels, and the shutter delay was
always frustrating. Nonetheless, I made a series of exposures
hoping that I could catch the horses in a position that showed
their gallant struggle against the elements. “Heading Home” is
Back in my
warm car, I contemplated the events.
I had done a good deed in helping the stranded girl, even
though it had been inconvenient to turn back into the storm.
However, if I had not helped her, if I had continued down the
road, I would have missed the opportunity to capture Heading
Home. I have since thought of that picture as my payback, my
reward for a good deed.
maybe, what goes around does come around.