Day 16 – Chance Encounter


Last Friday, when I was a god with a jeep and a camera, I drove to a place just outside the town of Oromocto where they have a lighthouse that’s so far away from oceans and rivers that it must feel like the most useless building in the world.

“Hey, look at my light.”


Poor little lighthouse.

It’s white and red and I’m not sure if it has a working light inside. It’s pretty in a small lighthousish way. I took about a dozen pictures but wasn’t happy with any of them. There was a corral beside the lighthouse with two horses grazing quietly and keeping a close eye on me. I could hear them talking:

“Hey, Ralph…another crazy photographer. Should we eat him?”

“Naw…too bald.”

Thank you Ralph.

I left the lighthouse and went to a mystical place where I had a satori. But the image of those two horses grazing in the corral stuck with me right into today and I thought: “Today, Biff, take pictures of horses. Maybe some portrait shots with long manes and big brown eyes.”

When lunch time rolled around, I rolled out the door with my camera and headed for the corral. Which was devoid of horses. I knew instantly that somebody was messing with my head, but I’m used to that so I said screw it and started walking down a road that eventually came to a bridge across the Oromocto River. But I didn’t go that far. Three mile walk. No way.

I walked for about fifteen minutes though a canopy of trees brilliant with autumn color with a river flowing to my left. I thought about the farm field along this road that gained notoriety for being the biggest marijuana grow operation in the history of the province in the late 80s. This would have been about harvest time if they hadn’t been caught. In another few years, with the present government gone, there would probably be a roadside stand selling fresh pot and pot paraphernalia. Pot hats and pot gloves. Pot shirts and pot-enriched spring water.

That would be cool.

Well, there I was walking down this idyllic roadway when I saw something coming toward me down the road. “Is that a mugger?” I thought. “A tree demon?”

No. It was a woman. Wearing a white blouse. Strolling along the road. I did the only thing that made sense…I lifted my camera and took a picture. I think she smiled at that. Hard to tell from that distance. As she came closer there was something about her that seemed familiar. I couldn’t put my finger on it. And she was smiling.

I’m used to getting the finger when I take pictures of people.

I mean it.

As she got closer I could see that she was definitely smiling and I wondered if this was a trap in which she would get close enough, take my camera and hit me over the head with it. And then I recognized her.

She was my friend Rhonda, an avid canoeist, scouting for possible spots to explore along the river, and grooving on the fiery beauty surrounding us. It seemed strange to meet someone I know so randomly in this secluded spot, but I guess it’s those little perks of chance that keep life from getting stale. We talked for a while and I would like to have talked longer, but I had to get back to work. I left, thinking: Small world… big surprises.

Lesson learned: If somebody smiles at you, think the best.

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