Today I went down to the John F. Burke Nature Preserve to shoot some photos, just as I often do. The Burke,
as I call it, is a very quiet serene place at the confluence of several freeways and one river. An oasis in the middle of a busy city. Sometimes I think I go there more for the solitude that allows me to think rather than for the photo opportunities (of which there are an abundance if you take the time to look closely). How does this relate to my Dad? I noticed I was carrying my camera/tripod in the same manner as I used to carry my shotgun or rifle when hunting as a boy. Dad was an avid hunter however due to financial constraints he did not get to hunt as often as he would have liked to. Dad started taking me hunting when I was about 8 years old. Our first trips were rabbit hunting however we mostly did some target shooting so I could begin to learn how to properly hold and sight a rifle. Later, when I was about 10 I received my first gun, a 20 gauge single shot shotgun, which I still have. This is when he showed me the proper way to carry a gun while walking. Over the next several years Dad took me dove hunting numerous times. We had to travel to various day leases as we could not afford a full season lease. The birds were not as plentiful at these day leases and we had to stay all day (the birds mostly fly in the morning and evening) so we had to endure the hot afternoons. Now as I reflect, I would not trade those trips for all the doves in the world as I was able to spend the whole day with my Dad. During the hot afternoons when the birds were not flying we would talk (mostly Dad!) about all kinds of topics. These are memories I cherish more and more as each day puts Dad's passing farther behind me. I no longer hunt, however carrying my camera/tripod in the same manner as I did my shotgun reminded me that Dad's spirit and the lessons in life he taught me will forever be with me. I miss you Dad.