In high school I signed up for photography,
But my father became the student.
It was an elective.
I chose it because it fit my schedule.
I did not really connect with it.
My father had never had any special interest in photography
Beyond taking family pictures
But he wanted to help me
so he read up on it.
He tried to get me engaged with it,
But I was young and stubborn and just wouldn’t.
Well, leading a horse to water and all that.
He pursued his own path without me
Buying better cameras
And setting up a darkroom in the attic.
Long after the class was over
He was taking photos of family, friends,
Random moments that appealed to him,
And many, many nature scenes.
We had a whole wall in the house
Covered with his photos.
He entered local contests and won a few.
The darkroom was in a bathroom
That had not been used in years.
There was an old bathtub with claw feet
That he used to spread out the photos as they dried.
This room became a special place in our house.
The big trays with two different kinds of liquid in them
The vinegary aroma
The enlarger that resembled a microscope in my memory
The darkness all around us.
It was all part of a kind of magic my father made,
That I blundered him into.