Back to the basics

Published 11:31 am Saturday, March 29, 2014

As a photographer and a reporter, sometimes there is a calling to leave the office, go out into the community, and do something downright fun and call it work.

Other times it is necessary to hunker down in our dungeon of an office, where no natural light touches me, and simply pound away on the keyboard, while making more telephone calls than I care to mention.

And there’s fun in that too, especially when you get to tell a good story. But few things are going to beat heading out on a spring day and going to a sporting event. Or, in my case on Thursday, watching the children at The Children’s Center in Courtland attempt to fly kites.

It was the first time that the center was going to have the event, and they thought that it would be good to invite some reporters out to take some pictures and cover it.

Unfortunately, the wind didn’t get the memo. While many of the children did have success in getting their kites airborne, it was only for short moments while they were running as fast as they could.

And looking at their faces, they honestly didn’t care that the wind didn’t show up. Even the children running at full speed who never got a kite off the ground were having fun. Perhaps they were even having more fun, as they dragged kites behind them running around in the grass. Not a complaint about the wind could be heard, at least from the children – the adults, myself included, were certainly hoping to get a little wind.

It’s easy to stress about the little details, even the ones out of our control, like the weather. When we spend months planning a vacation to a beach house, and then it rains, the great family outing often turns into a great family fight, as parents and children get stuck together under one roof when they were supposed to be able to enjoy the beach.

And there’s still fun to be had if one were to go out and explore. And perhaps, eventually, the sun would come out, or at least the rain might go away.

Remembering back to those days, as a child younger than 5, one of the things that I used to do – before we had TV and before video games came along – was go out and make my own fun.

It didn’t matter what that fun was, but it would be found and done. We lived deep in the country, where my closest neighbor couldn’t be seen through the trees. And even if I had happened upon that neighbor, it was a family member, so danger was not a big concern.

In those days, I had a dog named Benji, a terrier mix, and what we liked to do was wander the woods and hunt lions. To my recollection, I never actually found a lion, nor did I kill anything. But the important thing was the shared experience, a little boy and his dog, off exploring and having fun.

And I’m sure, at the end of many “hunts,” I could just walk over to my grandmother’s house and she’d have something sweet for me, which I’m sure my mother would have preferred me do without.

Isn’t it great sometimes to just enjoy the moment?

Regardless, I could certainly stand to learn some lessons from the younger version of me.

CAIN MADDEN is the managing editor of The Tidewater News. He can be reached at 562-3187 or by email at