Side Trips

Today’s post is one of those “whatever crosses my mind” sort of articles that I tend to write when no single thing has caught my attention. That is, except for the notion of taking side trips. This entire post is a side trip.

I love wandering, and I always left time for unplanned side trips when I traveled to make pictures. I make even more side trips in my mind.  In many ways, side trips, be they imaginative or literal, are for me, a synonym for adventure. Maybe for life.

As people, we tend to like what we like, and study what we study, based on our background and/or our life’s experiences. All too often, we never stray from where we stand at the age of 18 or so. The shortest distance between two points is a straight line, but often it’s the longer (side trips?) journey that is the most fruitful. 


I am certainly not Shakespearean by either my life’s experience, my background, or my intellect. Still, can the world be wrong with its centuries of adulation for this playwright?

Lately I have been reading bit’s and pieces (as is usual for a non-scholarly sort) of the legacy left behind this very profound thinker. Most of us would immediately recognize many lines from his plays as they have become a part of the English language, and commonly used to impart “words of wisdom”. Be they well-known or hidden gems, when you get past the old English vernacular, Shakespeare speaks as much to the 21st Century as any other.

“Men at some time are masters of their fates:
The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars,
But in ourselves, that we are underlings.”
—Cassius in Julius Caesar

“The robb’d that smiles, steals something from the thief.”
—Duke of Venice in Othello

“Give every man thy ear, but few thy voice.”
—Polonius in Hamlet

“Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player, that struts and frets his hour upon the stage, and then is heard no more; it is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.”
(Macbeth Act 5, Scene 5)

“All that glitters is not gold.”
(The Merchant of Venice Act 2, Scene 7)

Pay homage to those with who have the wisdom and eloquence to comment on life‘s condition, regardless of when they lived. Wisdom it seems is always wisdom, be it yesterday or today.


Stopping at the 18th Century San Xavier Spanish Mission outside Tucson, Arizona in the late 1980s (I believe), was definitively a side trip for me. I was traveling in search of natural landscape photos but I cannot resist human history. As soon as I spotted the mission in the distance it brought back some classic black and white photos from Ansel Adams. I had actually been here once before while traveling with my father, but had forgotten about it. I went to the mission, explored the interior, and decided to return at sunrise the next day. I made some pictures and finished my visit with some yummy Indian fry bread. Historic locations, that are dripping with atmosphere, are always worth a side trip.





A side trip for some humor? 

George Carlin as the Hippy Dippy Weather Man in the late 1960s.

“Tonight’s forecast……dark. Continuing darkness throughout the night, turning to widely scattered lightness towards morning”.


Public speaking, was a side trip for me. I was not one to enjoy speaking to a group, or often, even to one person. I hated house parties, or other such gatherings where the point was, to hang out and create conversation. The concept of “now were going to talk for a while”, always escaped me. Obviously,  I’m not much for small talk or “making” conversation. The problem was not that I was shy. When I felt like talking, and had something to say, speaking to one person or 500 came easy to me. Get me on a subject, or a hundred specific subjects, and I am hard to shut up. All of the little directions that a targeted, subject driven conversation might take me, were fine with me. There just had to be a purpose to it. For me, speaking about photography and/or nature, or even human history (or politics, social orders, etc., etc.,) has a purpose. That made, public speaking about nature photography both easy and enjoyable.

Be willing to take side trips that seem out of your comfort zone. You just might be surprised how wide that zone is.


Here’s wishing each of you some rewarding side trips,


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