A Jane of All Trades

I sit here at the Neversink Reservoir, in the beautiful Catskill Mountains of NY, USA. I am a few days late, as normally I would spend the day after New Year’s here, but weather did not permit such this year.

This is the place choose to think about the year gone by, the events that occurred, and the treasures I have found through the eye of my camera. My mind whispers the wonders and beauty that I was blessed to capture in my vision. For a silent moment I give thanks, and then I burst out laughing as a car zooms by and throws trash out the window! Yes this must be a bi-polar moment, though it lasted for a very long time. I jumped out of the car, fought the wind on the dam where I was parked, and picked up the trash to be disposed of when I got home…and then the laughter began again, quite uncontrollably.

The thoughts began racing through my mind of the many professions a girl needs to have to be a photographer/artist! The list is long, but I guarantee you will all identify and laugh along with me.

I have had many real jobs in my life. I did 20 plus years in the antique trade, lifting lugging, mending, displaying, promoting, and selling antiques and vintage wares, I have worked as a car hop, a dancer, a hypnotherapist, an astrologer, am a certified Veterinary assistant, and have even worked as an inseminator on a stud farm! (that was a gross job!!)

I thought surely, in my somewhat older years, life was meant to relax and I would have an easy going retirement. This was not the case at all for me. Read on!

Since becoming addicted to art and photography I have definitely learned to multi-task numerous professions.
Let’s see, I am the trash collector who does not get paid, for both picking up trash from the roads, creeks, and forests, as well as cloning out (in Photoshop) any garbage that may have littered a scene I have photographed. I silently (and without pay) work for the DEP, rescuing animals and birds that have been wounded, not to mention I feed all these critters, because DEP will not! Shame on them!

I work incognito for the town crews moving trees that they did not remove from the seasonal roads! So what if it is January when the tree falls down! The sign only told me the road was seasonal…winter is a season, yes? I am employed somehow (again without pay) with the utility companies. They insist on placing wires within the frame of the images I am taking…again Photoshop and I have to remove their unsightly wires.

I have performed the job of the local police departments when the farmer’s cows get loose, horses jump the fences, the goats have strayed, or the local pigs go running down the main road, not to mention when that big old snapping turtle is creeping across the pavement. There just never is cop around when you need one! By the time the police arrive, I have already herded the frightened creatures back to the barns and the turtle to the other side!

I work as a contractor and a window glazer on a daily basis, erecting old barns that are ready to keel over, replacing window panes and doors where the youth of today has broken them down. Ah yes, Photoshop does help me, I have taken them on as a full time apprentice!

I am a town gardener, and in the nice months can be found in any one of the local gardens primping with the flowers that have been neglected and left to grow without love. I provide local concerts to the birds, flowers, and wildlife, as I tramp the paths with my flute to my lips, imitating the songs of nature.

Oh, one last thing, I have also learned to efficiently work as an analyst while out in the woods. It is very important to know just how long that pile of poo has been in the path. Seeing the piles newly made means I must at that point learn to become invisible and silent and find my best point of retreat. Bears do not like to share their territory, nor do the bobcats, weasels, foxes, or coyotes. I will say though that the worst encounters have been with the human kind, in which case I become a marathon runner, fleeing for the safety of my car.

Apart from the very many jobs I maintain as a photographer and the excitement it brings, life is definitely no longer normal at home. It has been years since I have eaten in my kitchen. I have learned to brown bag it while shooting, drink coffee from my thermos, and yes, always bring my own paper necessities with bags for later disposal! (Most of the outhouses here are in a total state of disrepair.) So nope, I cannot use them! And anyway, if it is good enough for all the guys out there it is good enough for me!

And alas, when I am at home, food is something dragged to my desk (I have noticed it is a somewhat primitive act), picked on at the best, and fed to the dogs more often than not. Now, tell me, who cares about a meal at a table like a normal human when one can be reading history books for descriptions of images, and researching on the internet? Not me, I am overworked and underpaid…but I must say I am enjoying my retirement fully!

So to all my fellow artists and photographers out there, who may have a pang of guilt about their retirement profession in the arts, think twice. This is the hardest job you will ever have…but the most rewarding of any there has ever been! Best wishes to all of you for the New Year upon us! May your feet stay dry, your bones stay strong. May your courage grow, your risk taking be moderate, and may you find all the beauty out there waiting to be within your vision. May you find the love that will pull at your heart strings and the kindness to all that will be reflected to the world. Most of all, may you all sell much of that art we are all out there peddling in our spare time!
Pamela

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