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Here were previous milestones at post 1000, the four-year mark, and the one decade anniversary.  A few weeks ago when I noticed on my dashboard that I was approaching my 4000th post a week or so after the actual beginning of the 13th year mark, I knew this post was necessary.

4000!!  It can be a small number:  my heart beats more times than that in an hour and I’m still in the healthy range.  I took more breaths than that in the first half day of my life.  I grew up in a town that had fewer than 4000 people.  One dairy farmer I know has about that many cows now, and collects their output in tanks . . . a reefer tank for milk and two large lagoons for  . . . well . . . their other production.

But it’s a huge number of blog posts, especially if I start adding up the time spent:  if I average about two hours per post … counting the photography and the computing –and that’s a low estimate–that’s 8000 hours of work, which is 200  40-hour work weeks, which at 50-week years equals four years of work.  If I paid myself a low $50,000 per year, that’s almost a quarter million dollar bonus.  Nice!!  As to photos, I’ve added at least 40,000 photos to the web, mostly on aspects of the work world on water.

In another way, the number doesn’t matter, because the story never ends anyhow.  Part of what makes the real story elusive is the Heraclitus issue I’ve mentioned before. It also eludes because there’s no one story; not even one person has just one story or even one fixed understanding of a single story, since we –like the water–is protean, ever shifting.  No matter . . .   we pursue nonetheless.

About those photos, hindsight says I should have started “watermarking” them years ago.  Recently I saw one of my photos in a major newspaper attributed to someone else.  The same article had two others of my photos attributed to me, but this third photo was also mine, shot at a unique event where no other photographers were present.   When I informed them that photo was mine, they refused to believe me.  I was traveling at the time, away from my archive, so I decided to drop the matter, but the fact that it occurs to me now is evidence that I’m still irked.

What else could I have done with those 8000 hours?  If I were a competitive sheep shearer, in that time I could have taken 240,000 fleeces!!  If I worked them in fast food, I’d get $80,000.  If I worked as a divorce lawyer, I’d have a Ferrari or two.  If I were a politician, I’d be at the end of my term and starting a gig as an TV analyst.

Now if I could convince my boss to pay up . . . maybe he’ll throw a party instead and buy the first round for whomever shows up …  Maybe she’ll give me some time off.  Oh wait .  . I’m the boss here.

Seriously, I’ve been fully compensated in meeting interesting people, seeing unexpected things, noticing minutae, and learning vital stuff and worthless trivia.  If I had any regrets, it’s that this time commitment makes me a hermit.  I’m not as anti-social as I might appear, only easily distracted  . . . .  Actually, I like people;  I just prefer to not let an interesting scene go unrecorded sometimes.   Although being a hermit allows me to get work done, the downside is that isolation is sometimes corrosive or parching.

Hermits lack physical community.  Since I retired from a human contact career, I’ve much less of an immediate community.  My online community is fabulous and I appreciate it, but it is its own thing.  I need to work on improving my flesh/blood community.

A friend once sent me a photo he’s taken of me photographing.  It was not a flattering photo because I appeared to be scowling.  I wondered why I was irritated at that moment until I realized that is my “focused face.”  I’ll spare you and not post that shot here.  Photography is much more than moving your fingers on the lens adjustment and shutter.  It’s an attitude born of seeing and trying to see more.   Once an overzealous security person asked me to leave an area I had permission to be because he said I was looking around too much, I must be guilty of something and alleged that I was looking around to see if security or law enforcement was around.  But I do look around while shooting to see if I’m too focused on one action and missing another.

Here’s an example from many years ago and not involving my camera:  I was hiking in a wildlife area and approaching a set of bird watchers, all of whom were intently focused with long lenses on some rare birds in the marsh.  They were lined up along a roadway ditch.  While I was still 200 feet away, I saw a red fox exit the marsh grass, walk past all the photographers close enough to brush against their heels, and then disappear back into the marsh.  Not one photographer saw the fox that touched them;  they were all focused on the rare birds 300 feet away in the marsh.

Given some of the places I go to take photos, there are wolves to be wary of, two-legged wolves, if you catch my drift. I should not malign the four-legged ones though.   Whatever to call these potential predators, I try to spot them long before they sense me.  I take chances with wolves, no matter how many legs they have, and so far they’ve all had dignity.

Anyhow, my course remains steady.  I’ll keep it up as long as I continue to enjoy it.

Thanks for reading, commenting, and sending along stories and photos.

The collage at the top comes thanks to bowsprite;  she created it for me back in 2010 for my 1000th post, and I decided to use Skitch to modify her collage as a way of creating a tradition.

 

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