Thursday, May 1, 2008

Keeping it in Perspective -- jcarolek

Today I had to drive up to Baltimore to meet with my boss for a "transition" meeting. He is leaving and I will be, at least temporarily, taking over his management responsibilities, along with my own. I was not thrilled with the idea of the drive, or the need to spend the night in yet another hotel room, but that's part of the deal, so I roll with it. I have been fretting about this latest announcement since I heard it on Tuesday, and actually welcomed the face to face meeting with my boss and a couple of other guys from our team. But, still.....

So, I took a copy of the CD of music I had made for my mom for her birthday and popped it in the car's player, and harmonized with myself on the trip. That was kind of fun and different. Thankfully, if others in the cars around me whilst stopped for bridge construction, heard "us" singing, they were polite enough not to "laugh out loud!" I also took with me my trusty camera for my "shots along the way." This little pastime is quite rewarding. Since I don't actually look through the camera's viewfinder, or at the little LCD screen when snapping the shots, I have no idea what I have captured until I get home and download them to my computer.

What I noticed today was perspective. I saw things differently from the way the camera captured them. As I crossed the Nice Bridge over the Potomac River, I was more confident than normal. Bridges are not fun for me. But this time, since there was construction on the bridge, the traffic was being allowed through, one direction at a time, I snapped a couple of shots as I passed the line of traffic awaiting their turn. I would have been very nervous had the trucks actually been moving and been as close to me as they clearly are, from the photo, and yet, they did not bother me at all today.

And the sky, the sky was blue, but took on a different color when captured through the grid of the bridge.

The old house, now abandoned, that I thought I was capturing, was only half in the photo. Quite by accident, the tree that stands guard of that house became the contrast that put the house in perspective for me. My thought when I saw the house was of the faded glory, the shabbiness of the paint, that it had once been quite a proud structure and gleaming white...and the dark tree, I never really noticed, but in the photo, seems to show the same state as the house...once majestic, but now, with limbs missing, still stands...still guards.

My meeting went far better than I could have anticipated. What we expected would require an overnight stay and further meetings tomorrow, we were able to wrap up this afternoon, and with hotel reservation canceled, I was able to return home. Opting to avoid the horrible beltway traffic, I ended up driving through my old home town of Bowie, MD. It has been a few years since I drove there and I was amazed at how it has grown.....As I traveled down Rt 197, I snapped a shot of where I would have turned to go to my old house in the neighborhood, and another of Foxhill Pond, and yet another of Benjamin Tasker Middle School, which used to be a Junior High, when I attended in the early '70's. I was struck again by the familiarity of the place, even in the strange "newness" of the area.

Back in Gloucester, as I rounded the turn at the little pond at the entrance of my little subdivision, I caught the setting sun shining brightly through the trees, like a spotlight in my eyes, and I felt blinded by the light. In fact, the light was so bright, I could not even SEE the trees that surrond the pond. And again, the camera allowed me this prespective.

My trip today turned out to be a good one. My perspective of my own immediate future was balanced when viewed through the eyes of others on my team, just as my perspective of my journey was balanced when viewing the camera shots. And I guess I was reminded that keeping things in perspective often means having the ability and patience to step back and take a second look...before making a slam-dunk judgment.

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