Spirit Bird with Reflection | Mark Lindsay

Meetings—business meetings, that is—drive me crazy. Every one of them feels like slow death. I've never been to one that brings out the best in anyone, especially the best in me. I was a manager at 25, a vice president at 29, and a burnout at 40. Meetings, even today, at the age of 54, bring back the whole sordid tale.

With the prospect, on my mind, of a large meeting tomorrow (around a large table) I went for a walk. A long walk for a large meeting. Mist tickled the back of my neck and shortened the projected lifespan of my camera. My posture hasn't been that good lately. I tried to, as my father would say, straighten up.

The first photo on a walk is always the hardest. It's like starting up a car with bad spark plugs. A certain amount of black smoke is emitted. Click. Then it starts to flow. I enter a different dimension. So, I try to click my first click as soon as I can.

Once I started making images the sensation of rain on my neck disappeared. I turned my attention to the overflow pond in the park. The reflections had a gloomy quality that, at the moment, resonated with me. I pointed my camera at them. Suddenly, into my viewfinder flew a squawking bird! Singing a song of utter freedom and rebellion he soared into my image field—as if he were waiting all morning for my arrival.

By the time I looked up from my camera he was gone. With him went my angst. With him went my dread. I smiled with the realization that the impending meeting now meant nothing to me. How could a blasted meeting compare with a visitation from a spirit? I walked on with spring in my step and straight posture for four miles.

Sometimes a meeting is just a meeting.