“The Joys of Covid” would be the title for a very short book.

And having been kicked up and down the road by it for almost a week now, I became aware of just a single “joy” of such a miserable time.

It forces you to stop.

Stop what you are doing. Stop what you are thinking. Stop what you are planning.

Everything has to stop because you are dealing with a virus that suddenly makes every other aspect of your life irrelevant.

Once stopped and when the head finally begins to clear enough to, this pause in life gives you a real opportunity to reflect.

I am in day 5 now and though not out of the woods yet, I have found myself in this reflection mode and it is a good moment to experience.

There are many things I have done wrong in life; far more in fact than I have done right and in many ways I shake my head at decisions made and the roads that collectively led me to where I am.

But here in this calm reflection, and without the surrounding distractions of all the craziness that I habitually surround myself with, I am able to choose the next road with a slightly clearer view.

In this reflection, by the way, I remembered two shoots I did with Pete just before I left for Ireland, that I hadn’t gone through and whose images hadn’t seen the light of day.

So, what perfect time to breathe a little life back into the shoots and show some here.

On day 2 of our shoots, we went to Ballast Pointe when our chosen destination was still closed from the hurricane of the prior week.

With the big zoom lens I got some cool pics of a pelican, a ruddy turnstone, and a few others. I have attached a few to the end of the blog. The first is actually a phone pic taken on the road to the interstate, as I only had the big lens with me and couldn’t get a wide shot of what was a lovely morning and a very spooky old barn.

Anyway, hope you enjoy!

The idea that took shape for this blog though, was formed by one moment in our morning at the point.

We had been shooting for at least an hour when I noticed this one guy on the pier throw a net into the waters. It is called a minnow net and I got three or four pics as he threw it (one of which is in the end set below).

At the time I thought no more than it provided me with a cool shot. Silhouetted action against an early morning sky and the definition was good.

It was only when we got down to the end of the pier and overheard fishermen talking to each other that things really sunk in.

They were sharing bait from their buckets with each other and the purpose of the net was to catch some bait for the bucket.

“But they’re still alive” the little boy said to his father as he reached into the bucket and took one to put on the end of a hook.

“Of course they are. That’s what makes them wriggle on the hook!” was the answer and the little boy learned this valuable life-lesson that will no doubt carry him forward for however long his fishing years take him.

I am sure he will in turn teach the same to his sons so they can all carry on the good lord’s work for generations to come.

You may have picked up a slight level of sarcasm in my lines above. At least, I hope you did.

Because it saddened me greatly to suddenly find myself in a situation where not only was death for fun all around me. But some of the deaths being meted out were being categorized merely as bait.

If you don’t understand what I am saying, consider this;

Imagine you are hunted, killed, and eaten. Not a great way to die, I know but at least you are valued by the hunter as something they wish or need to eat. And so your death has at least given some value to your life on a simple food-chain level.

But now imagine, you are hunted and captured, kept alive in a bucket, and used not for food but merely as bait for something your hunter did actually wish or need to eat. What value does that place on your death/life?

For any living creature’s life to end merely as bait is an incredible insult to the life of that creature and I find that really sad.

I didn’t say too much about it on the pier to Pete, but I did finish the shoot then and we walked back to the car and called it a day. My heart hurt for the little creatures in the bucket waiting for their hook-moment that would define their whole life.

Once home, I struggled with the thought and realized we humans have a wonderful way of demeaning other creatures, not merely being content with consuming them on an unnecessary large scale.

Sometimes, even within this food chain, we continue to the bait aspect to where it isn’t even recognizable any more. For example, consider the grocery store or the restaurants with the tanks full of live lobsters with their claws banded waiting for the final selection.

“I’ll have that one!” Billy Bob says to the waiter and moments later his choice is dropped into a pot of boiling water to die an unmerciful death.

In this instance, the creature serves as bait for the patron’s money and his death and method of death, is of no consequence to either.

I understand the roles of animals within the food chain and I am not trying to turn the world vegan.

But when we take any creature from the wild and treat them to such a horrible death as the end of a hook or a pot of boiling water, then we are devaluing their lives to a level that is cruel and unfair.

Mankind has figured out many ways to understand different languages, sciences, and even outer space.

Yet, we have never taken the time to understand how to communicate with animals.

The reason is not based on the difficulty of the task. It is based on the preference of not wanting to.

Contrary to the Doctor Doolittle tale, mankind doesn’t want to know what animals think or feel.

Because if we did, it would shine an altogether unflattering light on the cruel cunts we are to the rest of the animal kingdom.

… just a thought!