The Weekly Photo Challenge prompt posted today says: “This week, share a photo that has a little something extra: an unexpected visitor, or a tranquil landscape with a splash of color. A lone carrot in a sea of peas. Draw us in with a humorous detail, or find a photo with an added element that makes it an image only you could capture.”
(If you click on the photo, it should open in a larger window for a more panoramic view.)
The significance of this photo has many levels. Someone just visiting this blog for the first time might see a nice composition of natural scenery and a person enjoying it. Very pleasant. Someone who knows this blog a little better might recognize the person as Steve, my partner, who shows up in many of my photos. Someone who knows my history might recognize the Wisconsin shore of Lake Michigan, opposite my grandmother’s beach cottage where I spent many childhood summers, and understand the sentimental attachment I have to this particular body of water. Only Steve & I know the thought that prompted him to sit in this place, the person he is memorializing as he pauses on our walk. The invisible figure in this photo is Steve’s father, Stanley.
I never met Stanley. He died one month before I first encountered Steve. I have been introduced to him many times in concept and story, however. Stanley was a gentle person, a father who did not assert his authority or enforce many rules. Steve sometimes describes him as “passive resistant”, but his assessment is one of understanding and acceptance rather than judgment. Stanley enjoyed going slowly through life, enjoying simple pleasures and quiet places. He worked many years in the US Postal Service and traveled with his family in his own whimsical way. Taking a cigarette break was a frequent excuse to absent himself from the social gathering at hand to enjoy a peaceful moment. When Steve saw this bench along the nature trail at Kohler-Andrae State Park, he said, “This is just the kind of place my father would like.” He sat down. I walked down the path to allow him some private time with his dad, and snapped this photo.
Happy Father’s Day, Stanley. Thanks for being the person you were and for all you did to make Steve the person he is. Well done, sir.