One morning last week I shook Calvin out of his heavy thirteen year old sleep at 4 am, to join me on a little work trip. We drove north in the dark and fog along the back roads, to meet up with our friend Carter of Gray Ghost Productions. We were on assignment for none other than Taproot Magazine and headed to visit the Knapps at Koviashuvik Local Living School in Temple, Maine just outside of Farmington. Our charge was to capture enough video footage to then turn it into a knife sharpening ‘how to’ segment that would complement Chris Knapp’s article in the newly printed Bread issue of Taproot.
“Why are we going so early?” inquired young Calvin, “can’t we sharpen knives at any time?”
A legitimate question I suppose and certainly age apropos.
“Because wouldn’t it be a bummer to be driving up there in the most amazing early morning light and watch it wash away before we even got a camera out?”
“Yeah, I guess so.” The budding photographer in him understood even if the rapidly growing teenager in him was ready to sleep a few more hours.
I was reminded of the outings with my dad as a kid, always up before the sun and on the road making the most out of the day. I remember traveling to Boston to go see the Red Sox at Fenway. We always drove down and back in the same day to keep the expenses to a minimum so we'd get home late that night. It always blew my mind how much we fit into that one little day and how, when I thought back to that early morning, it seemed like a totally different day.
We met Carter on the road and drove together the rest of the way into Temple. By the time we arrived it was misting a little and the fog was still hanging around all of the beautiful nooks and crannies and buildings of Koviashuvik as the days first light began to filter through the trees. We said good morning to the Knapp family and went right to work outside while they woke up and got breakfast and headed into their morning routine. It took a few minutes but I think Calvin was inspired by Carter who was already moving his cameras around and starting to gather images. He got his camera out too and began snapping stills. We had promised him that this was a fun trip and there was no pressure for using his pics publicly in any way unless they met his own rigorous, self imposed standards (first child syndrome, no?).
The Knapp homestead, which is Koviashuvik itself, is a place where work and play, teaching and learning, love and life all mingle and flow together in a calming sort of elixir. It's infectiously peaceful even when you're carrying around audio/video equipment and asking people if it's okay if you get really close to them and record what they're up to. We moved about the grounds, working, talking about our project at hand and their projects at hand. Much of their summer and fall involved them starting construction on their new classroom/school building. A lovely structure which, when complete, will consist of a large multi-use classroom, a bunk area and a library.
We interviewed Chris and had him walk through his knife sharpening talk a couple of times over. By the time we left we had about 3 hours of footage for what eventually needed to be a 9 minute segment. Carter, being the professional that he is, worked hard under a short deadline to edit it all down into something that we feel is representative of both Koviashuvik and Taproot. It's pretty, easy going and it just might have some useful information in there as well!
It was nice to have a rare couple of hours alone with Calvin on the way home. He chatted about all the things he noticed, from how Carter set-up, how much and what he shot to how big the Knapp kids are getting and some of the funny things they said. He noticed how happy everyone was even though it was "kinda like work". "It was exactly like work," I said, "and it was also pretty fun...like hanging out with friends". I let that moment sink in slowly for me and for Calvin. I think he got a glimpse of how his own future could be shaped. Working hard with people that you care about, doing something that you love. What could be better?