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I only know this is the 5,050th post because the wordpress dashboard aka diagnostics shows me statistics.

Over 10 years ago, I posted for the 1000th time here. It astonished me then that I had made time for posting one thousand times, and you the audience made time to read/see photos for a thousand times as well.   Then together we passed other milestones like 1280.  On the 10-year mark, I announced I’d posted 3287 times here.  The most recent post marking a milestone was the big 4000 here.

The 5000th post passed unremarked upon back in September, but here we are, eight days from the 15th anniversary of post 0001,  with a big 5050, a number of posts that defies my ability to process. 

Could I compress the content of 5,050 posts over a 15-year period of time into –say–a half dozen photos to represent this period of time?  Or could you chose one photo of the +41,000 photos I’ve posted since November 2006 to be a emblematic of this blog?  I can’t imagine how I’d choose, although maybe some of you might.  More on compression later.

In my 4000th post I said, “the number doesn’t matter, because the story never ends anyhow.  …  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 water– are protean, ever shifting.  No matter . . .   we pursue nonetheless.” 

It’s time to revise that because numbers DO matter;  my life, our lives . . .  are made up of a finite number of days, a limited number of hours to be productive and alive in.

The past year has been tough, with minor but bedeviling challenges, yet I am blessed with continued health and time.  Thanks for reading the blog, showing your ongoing interest in one view of many of New York harbor enterprise and activity involving both regular traffic and transient. Some of you even comment, and your constructive comments add detail and insights germane to New York working harbor, the stuff of this blog.   You make this a virtual community.  It’s especially satisfying when you send in photos.  If I don’t use what you send immediately or at all, it’s because I haven’t figured out when or where to post them.

Finally, thanks to my dear friend bowsprite for creating the 5050 graphic, as she did previous ones.  Check out her Etsy site here and order stuff so that she keeps busy with her variegated and quirky compositions that never cease to charm me. 

Let me follow up on that compression idea from the first paragraph.  I love the 5050 image above because, besides marking this waypoint, it compresses her perception into its chosen rendition:  rivets, hull color, draft markings, stains, dings, and all.  I say chosen renditions because, face it, the machines and people from the floating world of this blog are made up of countless features and details.  There are too many of them to all be rendered.  So illustration, photography, fiction or nonfiction prose, even music or any art requires choosing.   Bowsprite selects what’s in and what’s out and puts them back together– the regular or the haphazard way– guided by the whims of a free moment.  That’s compression aka creativity.

Seriously, bowsprite, I can’t thank you enough.

Related:  If you look at the top of the page, you’ll see a new heading, Publications.  There you’ll find a representative sampling of my publications in the past decade.  Enjoy.  I’m traveling again, so I might or might not post tomorrow.

Entirely unrelated:  If you’re looking to fill a long half hour watching an Australian kayaking to work rather than driving as a means to better understand land forms, human activity, and water flow, click here for Four-Day Commute to Work by Beau Miles.  I hope you enjoy it.  For all of his documentaries, click here.

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.

 

According to the calculations on my rusty cruncher . . .

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

this number has passed in the wee and dark and windy hours of Boxing Day.

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A million . . .  graphic ways of representing this would be . . . it would take 158 trips of Queen Sapphire, currently in the sixth boro, to deliver that many BMWs.  Or the hold of a half-filled Bebedouro would contain enough Brazilian pulp for that much orange juice.

0aaaac2

Wikipedia offers some other ways to represent a million.

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Meanwhile, this is my next goal.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Here’s the proof.

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I’m humbled and grateful.  Thanks for reading, sharing, and commenting.  And thanks for the emails and private messages.  The green coming out of the rusty cruncher above is getting to know so many of you.  Thanks and more thanks.  I never dreamed this was possible when I started the blog just after Thanksgiving 2006.

Meanwhile, I’ll be in the wooded upland between the Atlantic and the Gulf of Mexico til after New Years’ begin.

Peace!

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