Weekly Photo Challenge: An Unusual POV | Behind the lines

 

 

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During our recent trip to Jordan, we enjoyed experiencing many amazing sites rich with the history of many civilizations that have passed through over the millennia. However, not all sites were accessible to us, and we remained separated from them only to peer from a distance at the poorly-maintained ruins and garbage discarded on the other side.

I highlight this experience in the above shot of the Amman Nymphium. The first chooses not to focus on the historical site itself, but rather on the fence that was the object of my own tourist’s focus and frustration.

The same shot, but this time bringing the ruins into focus is included below, for comparison. Personally I find the above version much more striking.

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Inevitable September

I always have polar-opposite feelings about this time of year in Canada – the end of summer and beginning of fall. Let’s just say that I am not a fan of cold weather. At all. I start wearing sweaters as soon as the thermometer is below 24 degrees Celsius.

So to feel the ten-degree drop around the first week of September and knowing it is only getting colder from here, plunging us into a long dark winter that will make us forget summer even happened, is like a prison sentence.

Summer glory - who wants to see this covered in snow?!

Summer glory in my parents’ raspberry patch – who wants to see this covered in snow?!

But at the same time, I am a geek, and I love getting back on track with life after a refreshing and invigorating summer packed full of adventures and activities. And what a summer it was! I spent four weeks teaching in Rwanda, three travelling in Jordan, left my old job and launched a new freelance career. I come to September eager and refreshed to get my hands dirty.

So now for my news – I got a great project last spring writing content for the website of an amazing young design and media company that friends of mine started a couple of years ago. They gave me the license to experiment and try whatever I wanted on them, so I took full advantage to get to the heart of their vision for their company and how they wanted to present themselves to their audience.

With a beautiful website now polished and in the hands of our programmers (which I will link for you all once it is launched!), I felt more confident than ever about putting myself out there and taking on new assignments – until this same company again called me up and offered me a job! Two jobs actually – one potentially full time, doing both their new creative content side along with client management, or one part time focusing only on content.

I had a decision to make – take a full time job for this amazing little company and enjoy the security of not having to hunt for clients. Or, take the less-lucrative part time option focusing only on what I love and dedicating the rest of my time to developing my skills and pursuing other writing opportunities in parallel. The tricky thing for me was that I knew how closely they in fact were linked – I knew working closely with the clients and the teams would drive content and bring me deeper into the world of the company that I am writing about.

But I also didn’t want to get distracted from my goals to learn about freelance writing, and also not sure if I want to strictly limit my writing career to content marketing at this early stage. So, after weighing all the options and long consultations with my husband, I eagerly accepted the part-time content development job and haven’t looked back. They also hired an amazing manager who will be a joy to work with.

This is my first week, and there is a lot to learn. First up is to prepare for the launch of the new website, which we are hoping will come online in the next two weeks. There are social media accounts to set up, content to develop, and I prospective clients to reach out to.

I also want to keep up my dabbling in photography and coding, these little skills on the side that I feel like help enhance my work as a content developer by giving me perspective for what others bring to the table in the projects we do for our clients.

I’m curious what others think though – do you think I made the right choices for the coming months? And are you someone who dreads the end of summer or looks forward to getting back into things in the fall?

Into the Desert

Into the Desert

At night in the desert, the shadows lengthen and broaden until every mountain is cloaked in the quiet velvet of night. That’s when the stars appear – at first flickering on one by one, but then spanning the heavens as a singular, three-dimensional canvas of dark traversed by causeways of galaxies and constellations.

The only sound to be heard is us – we are loud in this sacred silence with the hooves and grunts of our camels, the shouted conversations among us, and the songs of our guide. But the desert refuses to give these sounds back to us; with nothing to bounce against they are simply absorbed into the sand, heard among us us, but failing to disturb neighbouring camps with our lack of self-restraint.

Ahmad, our guide, knows everything about the camels. Indeed he himself has grown up with them, as they have with him. The first, Soghan, is the natural leader , and Ahmad tells us that he can lead a pack of campels across the desert to the village on his own, returning to their masters with none getting lost or being left behind.

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The second is Samhan, whose name means “forgiving”. Every ancestor of his shares the same name. With his placid nature, he is the most responsive to children and tourists, and will even listen to a woman’s voice. But in his heart he prefers to travel alone rather than with a pack, and will choose any moment to stray towards a different point on the horizon than those pursued by his companions.

The third was given the unfortunate name Michael Jackson by a tourist, and the name was preserved. He is the youngest and the slowest of the herd, Ahmad tells us, but he is strong.

We arrive at our campsite and stiffly dismount. We carry our things to the tents. Our dinner has been waiting for us under the sand, where coals buried deep in the ground make a makeshift oven that makes the vegetables and meat moist and fragrant. Our delicious meal is enjoyed with tiny cups of sage tea, scalding and sweet.

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We unroll our mattresses outside and sleep under the nearly-full moon, so bright as to eliminate the need for flashlights. It is quiet and sleep comes quickly, exhausted as we are into our trip into the desert. I wake a few times to find the moon moved to a different position in the arc it travels above us.

I wake and breathe the dry, cool air, which will regain the heat of the day in an hour or two. It fills my lungs, clearing them of sleep and night. Morning light has painted everything golden, and I rise to catch the view quickly, before it disappears a few minutes later. My companions are still asleep, and I hold on to the private joy of the moment that is far from my daily reality, knowing that soon it will be stirred with company. Knowing that in but a few moments the sun will rise higher, chase us out of the desert and back to the village for water and shade. The night has ended and the desert day has begun.

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