I have mentioned many times that I am not a woman of images, but of words. In my real life, I am rarely standing in a moment in which I look back and wish I had taken a photo. Which is not to say that I do not take photos … it’s just that when I go back to look at them, the images are listless to me; the magic I remember dulled in flattened facsimile.
The recent result is that after a very long time and many random photos, my iPhone camera has been filled. Every time I think to take a photo, I get a little notice that the camera app is full, and that I need to download (upload? whatever) my photos off of the camera to something else before I can take new photos. Not so difficult a task, but on some level, I enjoy being freed of the camera’s lens and its obligations of capture. I have simply moved on as though I no longer have a camera, letting the moments of my life slip glossily through my fingers.
Kallan and I explore a riverfront park we have never visited before. The river is high, and we descend a large stone set of stairs that lead right into the water. Neither of us is dressed to get wet, and so we stand, staring out at the tumultuous river from the lowest dry step. Kallan leans forward to look upriver and beyond the curve of the high railed wall beside us; she notices there are benches in the water, lined up against the wall, along the beach that has been stolen by the tide.
She races back up the steps and climbs up and over the railing to descend the wall and hop across the encroaching river.
She sits …
surrounded by rushing water, an impossibly high wall behind her, totally dry and amazingly beautiful …
on a bench.
Standing here, looking back, armed with words and memory …
I wish I had that photo.
12 thoughts on “Island of tumult”
I never have my phone when a perfect picture assembles itself in front of me.
But…you did wonderful work of creating the image in my head. With your words.
Not so much a perfect picture as a perfect moment, if that makes sense.
Even if I’d taken the photo, I’d be disappointed with its inability to capture what I was in the moment.
And thank you, Renee.
Thank you very much.
Mmm, Lovely words for a lovely moment.
Awww … thank you.
I appreciate that you wish you had that photo of what is so valued in your memory and that the “magic” lives there.
A photo is just a capture of the most infinitesimal moment in time in only one dimension; yet one can hold a lot of power. I love taking pictures and the value, art they can provide. I also find it amazing that this supposed capture of physical reality can also be “untrue” per se. Surely, I’m digressing.
Love this, it’s got me thinking as always and the title is awesome.
All of what you said, and most especially the possibility that photos capture an untrue version of truth.
And the title? My favorite part of this piece. I like that you see it.
“No man is an island, Entire of itself” – John Donne
There are moments with my kids that take my breath away. The way my daughter cocks her head to the side and lets her hair fall over her bright blue eyes and gives me this quizzical look when I try to explain things that are just barely beyond her comprehension.
The way my son nestles his face in my hair and takes a big sniff and then smiles a huge grin that lifts his entire face, including his hairline, when I turn and sniff back at him. He has a belly laugh that could bring joy to anyone.
When my tiniest boy takes his impossibly thin, long piano-player fingers and links them between mine when we’re talking about things that he is excited about. I can feel him practically putting off his own frequency of vibrations through his tiny fingers.
And no matter how many times I have tried to capture these moments with my camera, I never get their full essence because without the rest of the story, they are only flat images. This is why I want to write books for my kids full of pictures with the stories that go with them just as I remember them.
Copy and paste, you … copy and paste.
You are writing here the words you want to share with your children, and I am ever so grateful and honored you were moved to share them with me. Thank you for that.
Now copy and paste them somewhere for yourself.
I can see that image. It’s lovely.
Awww … thank you very much, sir.
This sounds strange perhaps, but do you notice when you take a picture, you quit remembering the moment and just remember the actual picture? I discovered that when I watched a video of one of the kid’s performances I had recorded because her dad couldn’t be there. I remember taking the video and watching in on the screen…but I don’t feel like I actually remember the concert.
Even the pictures I love best—and I don’t take many—-I remember taking the picture, but somewhere I lost the moment.
Or maybe that’s just me justifying why I never seem to take pictures.
YES. All of what you said. The act of photographing somehow distances me not only from the moment in which I am photographing but also in the looking back. Yes.
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