“Every moment of my life was so purposeful,” Gheesling says. “You paid a consequence if you wasted a moment or your energy.” When it rained, he immediately moved to exit the river and erect his shelter. If a moment was wasted, he would later exert more energy dealing with wet things. Stopping for the day, he would establish his camp, prepare his food, review his work, inspect his equipment. Even his gear, the Biolite stove, for example, would warm his food while charging his laptop. Every movement and every moment had its purpose. “It is such a satisfying way to exist.” Living in such a fashion did mean moments of choices. Setting up camp in the early evenings meant he missed some golden photography situations. “There are some things I wish I had shot. You see it but you’re preparing dinner,” Gheesling says. “Then the moment’s gone, but I got to eat.” As for the photographs, Gheesling is now developing film and working with the images. He plans to exhibit them at some point, hopefully in Valdosta and in other locations. And he’s already considering other rivers to travel, waters to paddle and explore, and to capture what he finds on film.
SEPTEMBER 2013 | ValdostaScene