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Christopher Walrath

Sometimes the 12-year old wins.

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by , 11-14-2009 at 06:23 PM (689 Views)
Saturday, 14 November 2009

Well, today began innocuously enough. I had set the alarm for 6:40 am for a date with Steve Graff (aka Sirius Glass) in Bel Air, MD, at Barnes and Noble to meet for a shoot at 9:30. Hit the alarm. Rolled over. Woke up at 7:20. Crap! Rolled into my clothes, gear already in the Jeep (only forgot one thing which I will rectify shortly) and hit the road. Called ahead when I was 15 minutes away at 9:25. Now, I'm wearing a wool brown fedora and when I pull into the parking lot imagine my surprise in Steve's taste in hats. Well, Stetson, not wool.

We head north of town in 24 through The Rocks State Parks up to St. Mary's road in a roundabout kind of way, via a short walk down to the end of the choke cascade in the creek. We set out just before 11 am for the mile hike back. We get to the ford which is a series of sunken concrete cylinders about 15 inches in diameter that are normally about three inches above the waterline. Well, we have had The Perfect Storm II: Cap'n Billy's Revenge here on the east coast this week so our crossing was about an inch under water on average. I venture down, the stones in water level or just above are not slippery and some of the steps are an inch under. The 40-year old says, 'I'm carrying a back full of LF gear and Steve has his Hassy 503CW's home on his back.' The 12-year old says, 'AW! We can make it.' We came all this way after all. And sometimes, the 12-year old wins. All I can say is thank God for tripods and Sketcher boots. Inch and a half under and dry as a bone.

I set Steve up in a prime spot and move on up and set up my gear. I made four exposures, different orientations and different lenses (the 140mm or the B&L 8", choices choices). After about forty minutes Steve comes over, sets up near me for some more and a D****** shooter, a young man by the name of Tyler who lives in Christiana, DE, comes in and we introduce ourselves. He's shooting a D90 (I asked, striking up conversation). His dig is wildlife, being a young sportsman. So we chat, I ask him if he wants to look through the ground glass. 'Sure.' All I got was 'WOW!' So, Steve and I start to pack up, tell him about APUG and hit the road. We get back to the parking lot at the trail head, Steve passes on to me some great info and ideas for my Jeep, we shake hands and part ways. Steve headed for old haunts in downtown Bel Air and Edgewood. Me, for a visit with an old friend.

But first, I stop on the way back through the park and make a couple more exposures, I make six exposures for the day all told. I then look up Greg (sage) who lives a few blocks from where my grandparents loved. Found the house easily but a friend informed me he had departed about an hour earlier with camera in hand. It was my hope to meet him and shoot with him as well. Much to my chagrin, I later discovered that he had repeatedly tried to contact me to no avail. I turn off my cell while shooting. I had forgotten to turn it back on. I'm a schmuck.

I then go over to a local cemetery. My Grandpa Damon had passed away in February 2007 and with the sole exception of moving my grandmother's belongings from Bel Air to Milford, DE, a year ago, I had not been back. I had no idea it would be such a sorrowful and emotional experience. I had only seen it once, the day he was buried. Three years ago and not in the most focused of mental states. I could not find his grave. I was getting more upset by the minute. By upset, I mean blubbering fat man meandering through a cemetery in the drizzling rain, sporting a dashing wool fedora. I voice my self-opinion aloud. 'What kind of grandson am I? I can't even find my grandfather.'

Then the answer came to me immediately. I am the kind that remembers. I pass on his honestly, integrity, straightforwardness, and devotion to others through me. I am the man he hoped I would be. I have a wife and two children that mean more to me than anything else in this world. And I realize that his gift to me is a self-assuredness that I am doing everything I can and doing it as right as I can. And I know he would not ask for more. At that moment, I had a longing to be back in Milton, in my baby's arms, kissing the cheeks of Ethan and Emily. With nothing left to do but drive, I departed post haste for the only people that really matter, NO MATTER WHAT.

I roll back in and hug the kids and kiss Faith on the forehead. It was a long day, full of twists and turns. New friends. Help from old ones. A reassurance that everything will be OK.

It was nothing like I imagined but it could not have been any better. So, next time the 12-year old in you screams to be daring and follow a different path, take their advice. And hope.

From Milton, Delaware. Where the introverts look through their own viewfinder and the extroverts look through yours. I'm Chris Walrath. And this is my blog.
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