Wednesday, February 7, 2007
The old man and the river
Sometimes I forget why I took this job. Between the 12 hour days, complaints from irate readers, vague photo assignments and the general malaise at work it can be an effort to get out of bed. Then there are days like today where for about 10 minutes I remember why I like my job sometimes.
I was assigned to shoot pictures of the Delta waterways. I wasn’t given a reason or location; just get shots of the water. With no plan I decided to set out for the San Joaquin River at Mossdale County Park. As I trudged through the rain to the river's edge feeling tired and miserable I could think of a hundred different places I would rather have been. Then I bumped into John Geurin.
John is an older man from Ripon who decked in his rain slicker was ready to set out for an afternoon of fishing. He saw me taking pictures as he loaded his boat at the ramp area and we struck up a conversation.
John was a veteran of the waterways, spending quite a lot of time fishing the area. He told me he new the shallows, the deep points and where the fish bit best. Wiping water from my lens I asked him why would he go out on such a miserable day and he told me the striped bass liked the cloudy days best and he looked forward to the excursion. He had an umbrella and was ready to spend the next few hours in blissful solitude of the river and fishing rod.
I snapped a few photos as he pulled away in a boat that just barely seamed big enough to hold him and the arsenal of fishing equipment he carried. I watched him as he slowly slipped out of sight under the bridges and down the river.
Standing in the rain on the dock as it swayed with the current I remembered why I put up with everything else, it’s the people. Amid the politics, the bickering, nasty emails and general angst at work every now and then I meet someone who deserves a story to be told. The old man and the river was a good reminder to me to try and always look ahead to the next day.