We tend to think of art, especially photography, as being sized to a specific ratio in order that the work can be easily framed in standardized sizes. I confess, when I’m cropping a work I do exactly that; it’s just easier if indeed the work is going to be reproduced in the analog. It doesn’t always work that neatly – today’s work is an example. It’s a little too tall to fit a 1 by 3 ratio, and a little too short to fit 1 by 2. This work began as a capture of a local garage band called ‘Toasterbath’, which I always thought is a great name, playing a gig at a community festival. If they want to put it on the wall next to their first gold record they’ll have to have it custom framed.
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One of the great joys in my life has been biking out on the KATY Trail along the Missouri River. Rich, sunlit days peddling along miles from a trailhead, completely isolated, nobody around, surrounded by fields or bluffs. Brilliant days! A decade-and-a-half ago, due to arthritis in my shoulder and neck, I found it necessary to switch from bikes to performance recumbent trikes, specifically Catrikes, but that was a good thing because the Catrike is a spectacular ride! No stress at all on my shoulder or neck and an almost effortless pedal stroke so long as the ground is dry (recumbents are horrible on muddy ground).
Unfortunately, a couple years ago the arthritis just exploded down my back. It wasn’t the spinning that became a problem, it was the lifting, stooping, extending required to get the trike to the trail. The twisting stresses inherent in trail rides were also didn’t help. Trikes are too low to safely ride on streets, so it was the trail or nothing, and as it was going, nothing is exactly what I was doing.
I’ve always purchased and customized my bikes at Walt’s Bike Shop in Columbia, Missouri – they’ve been excellent at setting up my bikes and trikes – I like all my breaking and gearing hardware on one side and they’ve engineered that perfectly. After a period of watching the Catrike gather dust in a corner it dawned on me I could take it to Walt’s and trade it for a stationary exercise recumbent and actually get myself back into some semblance of activity.
What strikes me in retrospect was the dispassion with which I navigated myself out of one of the most beloved parts of my life. My self-identity has been strongly connected with riding. It was, ‘this no longer works so let’s do this instead’. No emotion involved. A completely logical decision. It wasn’t until I had loaded the trike up and was driving it to Walt’s to make the trade that the emotion hit me. When I handed it over I felt like crying.
All my life I have had to learn to do things differently. To see the world differently.