The Ridge Road

Because things are tough today, I turn right instead of left out of the faculty lot. I’m thinking, maybe a different road will offer some perspective, or at the very least, time to gather myself.

The two-lane road I take toward the ridge was once likely much narrower than the ribbon you see curling past the hill in the shot above.

Though I know this terrain — I’ve run this hill, and I’ve come this way once or twice before — it still catches me off-guard. Feels strange. Perhaps it’s because this stretch of land, despite the nearby university and all the homes strung along the road ahead, still manages to retain some of the character the land here in East-Central Ohio may have held half a century ago.

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The power lines carry a lot of meaning. They suggest community. They knit together those who make their homes out here with those who’ve settled in town. In severe cold, I’ve heard the wires can snap. Today, warm as it is, they sweep over the winter-wasted grass.

I park on the shoulder and take three or four different shots standing in the middle of the road. No one drives past, and I’m still the road’s lone occupant when I reach the city limits sign two winding miles farther along.

The houses I pass along toward town are miraculous. Most have been built into the northern slope of the ridge. The road wears a guardrail girdle to protect these homes from wayward drivers.

Near town, I catch sight of one of the same kind of large containers some lawn care companies fill with liquid lawn fertilizer and strap to a flatbed. Someone has written on the side of the container; I have to double back and pull onto the shoulder again to make sense of what’s written in streaking red-painted letters.

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I carry the sign’s warning, and all the questions it raises — what’s at stake? Does someone wish to protect property or to help others avoid harm? — all the rest of the way home.

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24 Comments Add yours

  1. I love the first shot, big sky and both the road and power lines pulling me into the frame, very impressive!

    1. Thanks for the feedback, Dookes. I can’t help but feel I got lucky with that one, but it was really cool to hear you felt pulled into the scene. That was precisely the way I felt taking the shot.

      1. Sometimes a little luck helps, but it sounds to me that you’d spotted what you wanted from the picture already. Anyway, it worked!

      1. It’s like it is with writing sometimes: remembering the basics of craft can get you through the worst of it. I went out looking at the sky and got it in my head to try and foreground one of those poles. You see the results.

        Thanks for popping over and commenting, by the way. I thought your recent post, “Puppy,” was shatteringly good.

      2. No dude. I think your post have real heart. It’s weird because I feel like they’re deeply personal, yet feel anonymous. It’s crazy and I love it. Keel them coming.

      3. I was trying to think of a way to describe the writing I’ve been doing, and you nailed it. I read that comment and thought, “That’s absolutely it.” Anonymous. The best I could come up with was poetic. Like (bear with me: we’re about to get a little abstract, or metaphorical) I’m slicing a section out of my brain and leaving it there, wrapped in a momentary context…

        I shouldn’t even try. Like I said: you nailed it. And I absolutely will keep them coming. You, too. The voice you’re working up in your blog gains a little more swagger, and a little more self-awareness and confidence too, in each successive post .

  2. I love the landscape in the first photo.

    1. Thanks for commenting. I keep kicking myself for staying inside the car to capture the second image. If only I’d gotten out, crossed the road, and tried foregrounding the container, the image might have stood out as strongly as the first.

      Thanks again. I was just over to your blog and caught a glimpse of your entry for the “Street” assignment. I like what you and your blogging partner managed to do to those images by muting the color–or maybe you both worked on fading out the edge of the images? Whatever you did, it was really cool.

      1. I am not sure what Michelle did, but I worked on increasing the contrast which really enhanced the blue of the sky and the yellow of the bus. I was so lucky to catch that bus in my shot. This course has been fun so far. Looking forward to tomorrow’s task 😊

      2. I may have to try tinkering with contrast myself, especially since you had such success. The bus really does appear almost hyper-real.

        I really appreciate the technical tip. Thanks for sharing.

      3. No problem, it becomes quite addictive once you start. My husband introduced me to photo editing a few months ago and now I am hooked! I enjoy reading your writing, just curious how many followers do you have? I can’t see it posted anywhere.

      4. Sorry if my last replay seemed rude, but I really like your blog and wanted to nominate you for a Liebster Award, but you need to have less than 200 followers. Please let me know if this is the case, I think you deserve it!

      5. No worries! I’ve been busy today and have only just now had a chance to check out the blog — and here, to be blessed by a comment like this! Thanks a lot for the kind words, for your readership, for the photography advice (I tried a little experimentation with the contrast in today’s photos; hopefully they turn out as well as yours did), and for the promise of a nomination for the Liebster Award. First I’ve heard of it. Super-grateful that you’d think to nominate me. Really. You made my day!

        To date, I have under twenty followers. Fifteen, I believe is the exact number.

        Wow. Thanks again!

      6. I look forward to seeing your photo! I also like to play with saturation and cast. Have fun! After being introduced to photo editing I have greater appreciation for photographers.

  3. Love this! Such amazing photos and the narrative just enhances them so much more! Great job! New follower looking forward to your future posts.

    1. Thanks a lot for following, Kimberly! I returned the favor. It’ll make catching your later entries to photography 101 easier.

  4. hannahkenway says:

    Beautiful photos and lovely sparse commentary. I often find my self taking a different road just to break the habit and to open my eyes to details and difference.

    1. Absolutely, Hannah. I felt pulled in that direction when I arrived to campus. I knew there would be an image or two waiting for me on that road. I like your phrase, “to open my eyes to details and difference.” Speaks to the importance of refreshing ourperspective. We forget how to pay attention if we stay in a fixed orbit. You capture this nicely. Glad to have your feedback.

      1. hannahkenway says:

        That’s a pleasure – I did a mindfulness course and we spent some time just experimenting with “doing things differently” – at the time I didn’t see the point but I now realise it brings you out of “autopilot”.

  5. I showed that last photo to my daughter, and it gave her the creeps. Lol!

    Thanks for following my blog! I hope if you can find the time that you will stop by my page called “Reasons to Smile” and leave a comment. It’s a list of things people are thankful for, just to encourage each other. I’d love to hear your thoughts!

    1. Absolutely, Merry Hearts. I should have a chance later this evening to stop by. Thanks for the invitation.

  6. Miriam says:

    Lovely perspective and photos Patrick. I like the way you view life, it resonates with me strongly. Cheers and warmest wishes to you.

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