This picture is of the storm that passed earlier in the day
Yesterday I went for a walk, like I often do in the evening. The air was cool for summer. A storm had passed through, and the bushes and wide leaves were dripping. Frogs were singing, birds were flying, and the sky was showing off all of the colors possible. Deep purples folded out of grey clouds, red and pink layers emerged from the purple, and the sun warned of its moving closer to the horizon by sending out orange waves. The grasses and magnolia leaves dripped water, bringing their greens to the party with exuberance. The road was wet and I had to avoid puddles at times. As the sun set the tree frogs, and the pond frogs sang louder, the cicadas pulsed and I gloried in the beauty of the south.
I had no camera. The truth is a night like this can’t be captured on film, yet I wanted, almost needed to try. People need to know this beauty. But they wouldn’t hear the insects, or feel the wetness. The colors would be muted, and even as I realized such, the sun set and the evening settled into shades of grey. Still, even while enjoying each moment of the evening show I mourned the lack of pictures. Why? Did I really need to post every walk, each and every beautiful sight on social media? If I didn’t record the beauty, did it even happen?
I have been guilty of snapping so many pictures of the moment that I forget to actually enjoy the moment. I was not always this way. When the kids were growing up I didn’t want to be that mom shooting pictures of all the milestones. We celebrated birthdays, ball games, concerts, by actually listening, participating and being with the kids. We do have a few pictures of these events, but not that many. When my son played soccer or t-ball, I sat in the stands and cheered. When my daughters played in concerts, I listened and enjoyed the music. These are precious memories, and I am glad my first focus was not just recording or catching every cute smile or playful expression on my camera. I was there, in the moment.
On vacations, how many people drive to a view, hop out of the car, snap a few photos and drive off, satisfied they have seen and enjoyed all they could? My parents live in a popular tourist spot, and they see this every day. Do we really need hundreds of photos of that spectacular view, or the wild animals? Or are we hoping for the once in a lifetime shot that catches the beauty in a way that will make others be amazed. I admit I love trying to turn the beauty of nature into art. I have some of my photos on my walls, pictures that convey the image in a way that makes me happy. The picture is pretty, and holds a memory of a vacation. My family teases me about taking multiple photos of hikes, stopping to snap a photo and saying, “This is the prettiest place I have ever seen.” After repeating this 10 times on the same hike, the rest of the group gets a little tired of me. Maybe I need camera reform, I need to take a few more walks and hikes, leaving my camera behind and forcing myself to just enjoy the moment. It could be good therapy. But then again, I might miss that special picture. Hmmm. Where is my camera?