In just a few hours the year 2014 will come to an end, and as it is often the case during these times, we tend to pause ever so slightly in an attempt to take inventory of our lives, both personally and professionally. It is all quite unscientific, but no matter how much we try to avoid it, there’s something about these dwindling last hours of a year gone by that induces this retrospective stupor in most of us. We smile when thinking of all the things that brought happiness to our lives and perhaps shed a tear or two for the losses we had to endure. Life, after all, is an unpredictable mixture of highs and lows, joy and sorrow, hope and despair, and above all, love.
But no matter the challenges we all had to experience during 2014, the unmistakable reality of life is that it goes on, and so must we. Go on to dream, go on to travel, on to discover, on to love, and on to hope. And as they have done since time immemorial, I hope the light once shed by Soren Kierkegaard (19th Century existencialist philosopher) and Lucious Annaeus Seneca (Seneca the Elder, 55 BC) will continue to guide us all along way. See you out there.
Life is not a problem to be solved, but a reality to be experienced… Soren Kierkegaard
Life, if well lived, is long enough… Lucius Annaeus Seneca
I have started working out. Well, not working out as an olympic hopeful would work out, but rather something more like going for a walk with the intent of detecting any degree of perspiration. I even get to look the part, with my Pearl Izumi jacket, my New Balance walking shoes, my long-distance runner’s cap, and a great Timex triathlon sports watch. I’m definitely all decked-out, if you know what I mean. But while all of this is fine, what really makes my workouts so valuable is that I get to carry a camera with me to capture the unexpected photo. Of course, stoping to photograph every interesting scene I come up to does break my exercise rhythm (what rhythm?), but it is crucial that I try to avoid the post-exercise depression that could ensue if I miss the infamous photo every photographer misses when they don’t have a camera with them. My choice of camera for these cardio outings: the legendary Ricoh GR (read about this little wonder here). The problem is that even after a couple of times out on my way to becoming a mean, lean, fighting machine, I have kind of forgotten about the exercise part. Photography is just that enticing for me. Light, bracketing, composition, and all things photographic seem to conspire against muscle tone development. Definitely a tough going, but I guess no one ever said that this exercise thing would be easy.
Running a restaurant is not all Iron Chef stuff. In fact, it is more of a complex mix of grunt work and logistics than the TV shows would lead all of us to believe. To keep these mini-food factories going it takes a lot of supplies and a network of folks who will always be under-appreciated and underpaid. Like in cruise ships, under all the glitter and fresh paint there is a complete underworld of people doing the grunt work of moving supplies, fixing machinery, and washing pots. Not glamorous, but necessary. When you think about it, this whole network of people diligently working from origin to table is really something amazing. It is easy to miss too when we are looking at that menu while trying to decide between the Chilean Sea Bass and the Norwegian Crust Salmon. A cursory look at a map will immediately tell us how far the waters from which the fish was plucked are rather far away, very far away. Just the thought of how many people and resources it has taken for the fish to travel to our table in perfect condition is mind-bogling. But even when we don’t know the route this delicious seafood takes before it gets to sit in front of us covered in butter sauce, I do know that at one of my favorite local restaurants the final leg of this maddening logistics journey is down the sidewalk doors depicted above. And as long as that supply network keeps working the way it is, my days will have more to do with photography than with fishing poles. And that’s a good thing.