Have you ever been so caught up in a moment of wonder, so captured by something, that the world stands still? For me, those moments are usually highly visual moments — which means that a whole lot of feelings are woven in and through an image captured only by my mind’s shutter. Those are probably the best shots I’ve ever taken. And the most memorable.
I don’t have a very good filing system for those shots. They’re stored haphazardly, rattling around in my brain. Every now and then, when one jumps and skitters to the surface, those memories come roaring back.
This tends to happen a lot in the winter. Maybe it’s one of the effects of hygge, the way the Danish cozy up to winter; I crawl under that quilt, get comfy, and pull out the albums. Maybe it’s simply that we all get a little more sentimental with the winter holidays? I’m not sure, but I know I have “mind pics” spilling out all over the place these days.
There’s the one I took in the middle of our wedding reception, as my new husband and I were each walking around talking to our guests, when someone decided now was a good time to clink their glass. Husband was on the other side of the lawn. If either he or I had run to grab a kiss, we would have fallen for sure. I looked up and blew him a kiss, just as his eyes caught mine — his all blue and sparkly — and he shot me a kiss right back. In over 20 years of kisses, that might be one of the sweetest.
Ok — now that I’ve gone back that far, images are spilling out chronologically. It happens.
We were on our honeymoon, staying at a bed and breakfast that had a hot tub on the roof. It was August and the Perseid meteor shower was in full view. There we were, soaking in the hot water, counting the shooting stars. With each one, I remember trying to make a wish, but they were flying so fast and furiously that we could only stare in wonder at nature’s show. That’s one of those shots I think I’ve actually framed in my brain.
Babies! Oh, those pictures that I never shot of my babies but are indelibly marked on my mind . . .
The morning after my first daughter was born, I had her resting on my lap in the hospital when my best friend walked in. She sat down at the edge of my bed, gave her finger to the tiniest little hand I’d ever laid eyes on, and said “Look what you made!” There were tears in her eyes. I had no words, only so much wonder wrapped in grace.
When I went into labor with my younger daughter, that same best friend was there. She stood on my right, my husband on my left, and they both coached and cheered, wiped my brow, and stood by my side. I was in too deep to speak, much less grab my camera (and let’s face it, that would not have been the prettiest shot!), but that image is steeped in gratitude. The second my baby was born, she let out a cry, and as I looked up to see the midwife bringing her to me, I saw the baby’s open mouth and snapped that picture, too. She looked JUST like her sister. Wow.
So many images!
Bathtime . . . the way they would love to run naked and giggling through the house before finally jumping into the tub. Splashes of water and suds and then glistening skin under giant towel wraps. All part of the bedtime routine.
I would rock each of my girls to sleep, their tiny bodies heavy in my arms. The younger one never wanted to give in so I would wait for that last sputtered sigh before gingerly picking her up to place her in her crib. I can still picture the way her hair curled around her ears. I think I can still smell the top of her head. The older one would rock curled around me like a baby monkey, her head tucked just beneath my chin. She’d be freshly bathed and her soft cotton jammies made her toasty warm in my arms.
But now another box just spilled out . . . images of family vacations on rocky shores, tantalizing sunsets, foreign railways, and long car rides where we’d stare at blurred scenery whirring by outside the window.
These are all the images indelibly printed in my brain. I don’t want to bore you to tears (unless, I already have), so I’ll stop and just enjoy all the visual memories that are flooding my mind. These memories — and this time of year — are a reminder to stop and pay attention. Be aware of the light and the shadow, expose for the connection, set the shutter to forever. Oh, the wonder of it all . . .