I saw the faint silhouette of my wife walking by me today. She floated by, effortlessly and swiftly. She didn’t make a sound. She was there one second, and then, she was gone. I waited for the scattered traces of her to bend my vision into the moment, but as quickly as she was there, she was gone. In an instant, the instant was over, and I was left, once again, with my imagination filling in the empty cracks and the hollowed out crevices. I was left with my made up pictures that constantly tumble around my drawer full of illusions. I was left with so many memories of how her eyes looked, how her smile lit up my heart, how the contours of her lovely face used to take me away to places I had never been before.
In an instant, it was gone, and I was still standing there, trying to put the faded pieces of the blurred puzzle together.
Thank God I still have my little slivers of vision. Thank God I can muster up a visual cue to help me along another few moments of my day. I don’t really know, and don’t want to know what it would be like to be in total darkness. I don’t want to know, and would probably fight for all I’m worth to keep what little vision I have left.
I was talking with a friend the other day and they told me that only ten percent of persons with visual impairments are totally blind. I was sort of amazed. I figured the percentage would be much higher, but then again, what the heck do I know.
I did think for a moment, and in that moment I realized that there are only two or three folks I have met in the blind community that are totally blind, so I could see where the percentages might be correct. It’s funny, these two or three folks are some of the more inspirational folks I have ever met. Seems all together fitting and proper.
When I see a sliver of this, or a dash of that, my mind automatically takes over and fills in the blanks. It does it now without me even having to think about it. It happens in the blink of an eye, as quick as a cricket, and as fast as a billy goat can think. Just like that, the incomplete pictures are cropped, sized, rotated, sharpened and set to music. Just like that, all of the colors, all of the shading and textures and shadowing and every bit of the magic that my brain can conjure up is set in motion. The photo album is flipped through and the catalogue is processed to bring to life the best picture for the job.
Back in my picture taking days, I used to love stitching several side by side images together to form one wide angled panoramic picture. I used a couple different image editing programs that enabled picture stitching, or overlaying. I loved to do it. I particularly loved the ones that I created from along the Kennebec river between Bingham and The Forks. I didn’t make a ton of them, but the ones that I did are stored neatly away on my pc hard drive, as well as in my mush melon, and I pull them up from time to time and remember so vividly, not only what they looked like, but what they felt like, and what they still feel like to this day. I remember one in particular. I was standing in the middle of a huge grove of white birch trees. They were spaced far enough apart to give a spectacular, late afternoon view of the river, just beyond them. The sun was glistening off the water, creating a wonderful glitter that carried the image. Swinging my camera from left , to right, I took a dozen or so images of the layout, making sure not to move the sitting position of the camera. That was crucial to get the same angles from the different views.
Well, home I arrived and dove I did, head first into the pc. It took some time, roughly a half an hour, but the ending image stole my breath. It was something you could blow up and cover an entire length of wall with. It was perfect, sort of like the image of my wife. The angle of the trees, the lighting of a sunny day, the rolling river in the background, it was absolutely amazing. Right then and there, right as the electricity was rippling through me, I wondered why I hadn’t gone to school to learn photography, because that feeling was unlike anything I had ever felt before. It seemed to give me purpose that I never thought I had. It seemed to be calling me to grab my camera and take another five thousand shots, so, I did. I did, and remember so many of them.
I use so many of them today, every day, and I am blessed with it.
When my wife walks by me, I dig into the picture library I possess and pull one out that matches the situation. Where I am, how I feel, whatever the situation calls for, I have a picture that fits it, and fits it well. Whether the original picture was taken by my Vivitar digital, or my Lyons internal, they’re all there for me to constantly flip through and enjoy. I used to think that maybe only one out of ten was a keeper back then. Now I’m glad that I kept them all, because I can put them all together and create my own little panoramic display of what used to be, and what is still.
So many pictures, so many instances, so many memories of so many things. I know now why I loved to take so many pictures of everything. It felt like I was supposed to take all the pictures, for some reason that back then, I didn’t know of. Everything does really happen for a reason.
I am blessed with my experiences. I am blessed with my memories. I am blessed to be able to imagine the images that go with the motions of the day. The faces, the scenery, the shared smiles and laughter that go hand in hand with yesterday’s sunrises will be with me until time finds a way to finally catch up.
Thanks to all of you who are the creators of the incredible memories and please, someone hand me another photo album, if you please.