A Picture without a Picture

I’ve been reading Susan Sontag’s essays, “On Photography”.   A few pages into the first essay she writes, “Travel becomes a strategy for accumulating photographs.”  She refers to snapshots as souvenirs – and that clicked for me, so to speak.  I don’t buy souvenirs, I take pictures.

However, on my first trip to Ireland I chose not to photograph one beautiful moment.  I felt that capturing it would somehow rob the moment of its magic.  1,000 words could never do it justice, but I attempted to describe for my memoir what didn’t feel right to photograph.  This short piece will be at the end of Chapter 6, about my first day in Dublin.

Lady in the Leaves

In a shaded courtyard somewhere outside the National Gallery, I sat down to rest my feet and lament my insensible choice of footwear. The wind gusted, and a squeal pierced through the sound of rustling leaves, attracting my attention. A few feet away, I saw her.

Alone, she drifted across the courtyard through a sea of autumn color. Arms outstretched, her weathered hands poked out from the tailored ends of her coat as the wind tousled the white curls above her wrinkled face.

Leaves like glowing embers showered from the trees, and she raised her arms to them like a child in the rain, smelling the sweet, earthy fragrance as they tumbled through her hands. Then she kicked through the brittle waves, her scarlet checks touching the gleeful corners of her pale-blue eyes as she watched them rise and fall.

Instinctively, my fingers ran across the buttons of my camera to collect the image before the moment vanished. But as euphoric notes burst forth with each kick of her polished shoes, I began to fear that the sound of my shutter would startle her out of her moment. And even if it didn’t, could I simply click and capture her joy – bringing her home like a cheap souvenir?

No, this flicker in time wasn’t mine.

I picked myself up, a hot pain radiating across my soles, and limped away unnoticed by the lady in the leaves. Her picture still hangs in the only place that it should, living and vibrant in my gallery of memories.


A Piece of Dirty Dan

Yesterday afternoon ended with a London Fog from Tony’s Coffee (always done to perfection) and a stroll through the Village Green in Fairhaven where I stopped to read my new book, The House of God by Samuel Shem.   Chapter I of this book made me wonder if medicine is a good field to go into.  The jury is still out on both the book and on medicine. 

As I left the Green, I noticed the accumulation of autumn leaves around the Dirty Dan statue.  Photographing it is way overdone, so I tried to look for a new perspective on it, and decided upon this.   Sometimes, the smallest fraction of an object is more interesting than the whole.  

Camera:  Motorola Droid, 5 mega pixels.
Apps:  PicSay Pro;  I increased the saturation and played with a new feature called Faux HDR and Instant Film.

A Dose of Political Incorrectness for the Weekend

Here is how my mind works.  I was looking at this picture that I took between Boulevard Park and Fairhaven – which reminded me of autumn.  This reminded me of Thanksgiving, which made me think of Indians…erp, Native Americans, which then caused me to free associate over to thoughts of my friend David and a conversation we had one morning on our way to coffee.   

Me:  It’s cold outside, Tonto.

David:  Tonto? 

Me:  Yeah, cause you’re an Indian…

David:  ~rolls eyes~

Me:  When I was in elementary school, we used to sing this song in music class that went like this, “One little two little three little Indians, four little five little six little Indians, seven little eight little nine little Indians, ten little Indian Boys!”

David:  (shocked silence)  Dude, that is so wrong.  We sang it too, but it ended in “ten Indians in a row”.

Me:  In a row for what?

David:  (Shrugs) But, how would it sound if it were “One little two little three little white boys?”

Me:  No one would ever sing that.

David:  Exactly.  And you wouldn’t hear black boys or any other ethnicity either.  Why is it okay to pick on us Natives?

Me:  Good question.  One little two little three little white boys…

David:  ~Rolls eyes again~

The baristas over at the Starbucks in Burlington Fred Meyer probably think we are insane.