Connection and love are precious and rare. I’m particularly grateful for it today. I lost a beloved elder family member, my Aunt Bea, yesterday, and I am feeling a little bit lost and sad without her in the world. I actually didn’t realize how much it mattered that she was there, until last night, when she was gone. It’s got me to thinking about the connections we weave, the bonds we make in our lives, how one thread can seem totally invisible but when it’s cut, you feel it utterly change the fabric of your existence forever.
Today I’m extra grateful that I’ve got my wonderful partner, my kids, my friends, my-best-friend the ex Mr. H&O, my family. This foundation that is utterly solid and sustaining. Precious. Impermanent. Fragile, for all its solidity and strength.
This shot makes me so happy, takes me to the moment my Captain and I were sitting there in the grass, in the sun. I can remember how there were some prickly burrs under my hands and how I decided (in that moment) that it didn’t matter that they were poking, how the mingled smells of grass, hay, smoke, and ale were all on the air, the sound of distant bells and music, the way we were laughing, the way I was feeling, the incredible Caribbean blue of my Captain’s eyes. All that, from this one image.
I think that’s why photography is such a magical thing, or at least, why it can be. It has the capacity to take you back to a specific moment in time, to trigger all sorts of good (or difficult) memories. It is as important as a written record. I’ve got this friend, a wonderful photographer, who really gets that. He doesn’t just capture flat images of things, he captures people and moments and memories. He has this uncanny knack for ferreting out the most magical moments, the small moments, the living, breathing, and being moments. He took this picture and I couldn’t be happier that he happened to walk by in just that moment. We didn’t know he was there. He’s always there because he gets that “there” is all around him. He always sees the potential to capture something meaningful and make it pretty. He’s kind of the photographer I want to be.
Photography gives us something to remember the threads and the fabric, even after they’ve been cut.
How does this tie in? Well it does, actually. Because I was thinking about my Aunt Bea last night and one of the things I remembered was that, she was one of those people who always had a camera in her hand at any social gathering. I used to dread family parties because no matter what you were doing, she’d have her little Instamatic up and the flash would pop and you’d be caught. Invariably, at the worst possible moment, making the ugliest face, chewing your food, frowning, scratching your ear, whatever – because you never had time to pose. And it was film, so there was no escaping it, because Aunt Bea never got rid of a picture or took a picture she didn’t like. I didn’t understand it then, but I get it now, she was making a record. She was trying to capture what she was seeing and feeling and experiencing, so that it wouldn’t go away. She wasn’t making art, she was saving memories. She was preserving the fabric and the threads of her life.
I’m grateful to have that insight into her and the dreaded Instamatic. I’m also grateful for digital photography and the understanding that art and memory are not mutually exclusive, but that’s another story all together.
To my Aunt Bea. To love and connection and family. To friends. To the ways that we pull those things close and keep them by us, preserve them for the future. To letting them go when their time is done, knowing we haven’t really lost them entirely. To pictures that preserve moments, and the magical moments that pass so quickly. Our lives and loves are those magical moments. Mark them well.
Cheers and tears.