I saw the faint hint of a bright, shiny thing in the eastern sky a few weeks ago, way back in February. Could that have been the sun? As I walked back in through the garage, I noticed something near the freezer. It looked like the freezer was illuminated. Could that have been the sun shining in through the garage windows? Could it be? Could winter be rolling along, heading towards spring? I mean, could it really be?
When I went through the garage door, out into the back yard, I noticed that I had forgotten to pull my hood up over my head, because as you all know, it can get really cold up here in the wild blue, north eastern yonder. Well, there I was, walking out towards the dog pen door, with no hood up over my head, and my ears didn’t even get cold.
What the heck happened? Where had the frosty fingertips of Mr. February gone?
Then it hit me like a twice by four upside the noggin. It was February vacation. Maybe the thrilling chill instiller took the nine fifty-five out of North Station for Key West? Perhaps the frigid frozen frost fairy had had enough of his own frantic frozen follies? Could it be that the buds of spring were right around the corner, waiting patiently to spring up towards spring?
As the crusted ground crunched under my feet, I continued to try and catch a glimpse of the bright shiny thing, hanging lowly and all alone in the morning sky. You see, I love the sun. I love how it feels, how it makes me feel, how it looks, how everything reacts to it, I just frigging love it!
I thought back a few years ago to a picture I took one morning. It had snowed overnight, and the plow trucks had been out doing there best to shove it to the side and lay down a layer of dirt and salt. As I headed for work that morning in my trusty Pez dispenser of a truck, I turned onto the Upper Bell Squeeze Road and noticed the morning sun was rising right in front of me. The reflection on the bare strips of wet pavement reflected brightly, causing me to squint fiercely. I started down a slight dip in the road, which had a sharp right hand turn at the bottom of it, and was instantly met with one of the most fantastic views I had ever seen. As I started down towards the corner, there was a long, narrow, half mile stretch of field up ahead, past the corner, out in front of me. I don’t know really what it was that caught my attention, but the way the sun was glistening off the wet pavement, and the long thin field of freshly laid snow directly beyond it, well, it was like someone had taken a snapshot of heaven and set it right in front of me. I quickly stopped the truck and put it in reverse, until the image was perfect, then I grabbed my digital camera and snapped one quick photo. I had to get moving again because there was a car coming up from behind me, and another one approaching the corner from the other direction. I went down the road, past the corner and safely pulled to the shoulder so I could have a look at the picture.
There it was. It was in my camera, and it was perfect, absolutely perfect! I was probably the most excited as I had been in a while. I had grown quite fond of taking my digital camera with me while on the job, as I traveled through Central Maine all week long, and was met, quite often, with some amazing photo opportunities. I loved to take pictures, ever since my grandson was born and I went out and bought the camera. It had become a wonderful hobby for me, and I found myself, most days, craving my arrival back home, so I could go in and fire up the computer and check out the images I had taken during the day. This day, this image, was no different. I arrived back home that evening and practically tripped over my size fourteen, lug soled work shoes, trying to get inside to my pc. Well, within a few minutes, with my wife wondering what the heck was the matter with me, there I was, staring at the computer monitor, trying to catch my breath as I sat, smiling at the most amazing photo I had ever taken, or seen, for that matter. Everything about the photo was perfect. The shimmering morning sunlight off of the wet pavement, the alignment of the corner of the road with the field behind it, the way the fresh, morning snow hung from the tree branches, the glistening of the snow, the angle of the curving pavement, it was all simply perfect, it had come from my camera, and it was all mine.
I sat and stared and smiled and almost started crying. Honest. Call me an old softie, call me a wicked relic of a saturated handful of sniffle rags, call me collect, and I probably would accept the charges, but this had to be one of the best images my billy goat eyes had ever seen. It was, simply put, perfect in every way, and as I played with the brightness, and the sharpness, and the other filters on the image editor, it got even better. As I adjusted the fine tuned sharpness level, I noticed a fine line of fog at the far edge of the field, and that was it, I had finished editing the image into something that I was sure was captured amazement.
As soon as this wonderful addition to my mind’s image folder had entered my life, with one click of a field rodent, it disappeared. You see, I was editing it while it was still on the camera card. Funny thing is, some times when I did this, and forgot that I hadn’t copied it onto my hard drive yet, I would close the image editor software, and for some unknown reason, the image would automagically delete itself from the camera card.
Presto! The most incredible image I had ever taken was gone.
It was wiped out of existence, and all I could do was scream at the top of my lungs in sheer, total despair. My heart raced rapidly to the floor, bounced back up, hit me square in the jaw with a beating upper cut, then dropped back to the floor, like a fifty pound sack of flour that had been dropped down a forty-three story empty elevator shaft onto a bare cement floor.
It was over. It was all over, and all I could do was sit there, staring at a blank computer screen.
My wife asked me what was wrong, and I couldn’t even speak. I sat, looking down at the keypad, shaking my head in disbelief.
I learned a great lesson on that day, never take for granted the beauty that lies in front of you right now, right here, this day, today, because in an instant, everything can change. Everything can change, and if you don’t take the time to stop and grab hold of an instant, the future will come along and gobble it up, quick as a cricket.
These past two weeks have snapped by, as quickly as one of those erratic moving ground hoppers, and I can tell you that along with the time ticking by, the moments have chugged along just as fastly. You see, I have been surrounded with moments, one by one, one after the next, and for some reason, they have automatically stored themselves into my soggy mush melon. They have arranged themselves categorically, row after row, column by column, folder by folder, and they will always be there, waiting, for me to flip through.
I still remember that photo, as though I took it only yesterday. It is as sharp as a tack, and as vivid as that morning has remained. It will hold true as one of the finest images I have, still hanging on the wall, right beside the one of the McClelland’s milking parlor, with a committee of crows surrounding the building, which was enveloped in morning fog and mist. Seems as though there was a fresh blanket of morning snow surrounding that shot as well.
I have all of my photos saved on my pc hard drive, and every now and then, my wife will go through the folders, looking for one image in particular. As she describes them to me, I can sell clearly see them in my head as they appeared on the pc monitor for the first time after taking them.
There is a first time for everything, right? There is a first time for everything, and I am very thankful that everything does end up in its place, right there, in front of me, magnificently displayed on the pc monitor, just where it should be.
The thing that I probably love the best is that my auto focus feature has built in, self adjusting controls these days. I love that a lot.
I hope all of your photos and images that you have the opportunity to take, find their way safely into your backed up folders, where they will remain treasured for all time.