Going in Nature
You want to know the number one skill you must have in order to be the wife of a landscape photographer? It might surprise you.
It's not the ability to wake up early for sunrise, although that helps. You might think it's the ability to read a map properly, but that modern miracle the GPS has filled that gap and probably saved countless marriages. You might think that the wife of the landscape photographer has to be patient, know how to amuse herself, enjoy spending lots of time in the car, and know how to deal with all sorts of weather conditions. And you would be absolutely correct. But you still wouldn't have gotten to the most important skill that the wife of a landscape photographer must have.
It is the ability, as we so delicately call it, to 'go in nature.' If you can't comfortably relieve yourself in any moderately sheltered outdoor area, you are going to be one miserable wife. I'm lucky because we went camping fairly regularly when I was a kid and even if a campgrounds had toilets, you weren't going to want to trudge all the way out to them in the middle of the night.
The only time I understand the concept of penis envy is when I'm looking for a place to go in nature. Peeing in the woods is quite undignified and ever since I started having to pull ticks off Toby on a regular basis, I've become a bit paranoid about picking up a parasitic rider.
The most memorable going-in-nature story occurred recently, when I was out with Peter in the area around Killarney. He'd found one of his favourite types of roads - the tiny little squiggle of a boreen that only shows up on the Ordinance Survey map. It's the type of road that is barely wide enough for his car, has grass growing up the middle, and potholes big enough to swallow a mid-sized dog. It's also the type of road that makes me ask Peter 'Is this a private road?" to which he always responds 'Probably!" and I sink down in my seat and worry about getting driven off by an irate farmer with a pitchfork.
We trundled along this road, which hugged a lake on one side and a steep hill with bits of scrubby forest land on the other side, eventually having to pass through a gate. We had a few stops for photography for Peter and romping for Toby and me, then eventually we came to a gate with a No Trespassing sign. So we turned around and headed back for the main road.
I hopped out to open the gate and told Peter I was going to have a pee. Next to the gate looked like the perfect spot - a dark little warren of trees and bushes. As I was picking my way through the stinging nettles and brambles, I saw a skull a little ways into the thicket. I squinted and checked the shape of it, assuring myself that I could see horns and that it had to just be a sheep.
The next thing I saw, just beyond the skull was a bright yellow rain slicker. I knew my imagination was going to kick into overdrive, so I went in nature as fast as I could and then bounded back into the car.
"There was a skull in there, but it was okay because I saw horns. But then the next thing I saw was a rain slicker. I'm just so glad I didn't see them in reverse order, because there's no way I would have stuck around long enough to look for the horns."