Have you ever thought about what it would be like to have a camera with you at all times? Well, technically, with camera phones we do, but I mean to use it? Constantly. Every minute of every day. Freezing all the moments in time that become your life.
Keeping them intact, as it were. A limitless panorama, there for you to look at, whenever you felt the need or the desire. An opportunity to review, re-live, enjoy again, remind yourself of the lessons you learned, wonder what might have happened if you hadn’t stopped to take that, particular photograph. What might have happened if you’d turned left instead of right. What might have happened if you hadn’t been in that place, at that time, on that day, in that month, in that year.
I can’t say I’ve ever spent a lot of time, if any, on it. Until Sunday past, when it flashed into my mind and I thought, “Hmmm, this week’s blog post?” And then, just as quickly, I dismissed it, thinking it was too convoluted, too silly, too ‘aerie fairy’. Fluff. Nonsense.
Which I did.
But I woke up with it on Monday morning. There it was. On my mind.
So what was I to do?
It didn’t want to be dismissed.
Aerie fairy or not, convoluted or not, it was an idea my sub-conscious clearly wasn’t ready to part with. To cast aside.
So here I am.
Well, in reality, there I was.
Because the moment in time, the exact moment in time when I was turning an idea into this story, is not happening now. It happened ‘then’. Monday morning, post breakfast. Yesterday. That’s when I wrote this piece; and then saved it, to publish today. Now. Tuesday morning, early, before I leave for the hospital, to volunteer.
Still with me?
So then my mind really started to wander. And wonder. What if …
What if … I was at a lunch? Perhaps Sunday lunch? With about twenty other people. We’re at a long, long table in a beautiful garden, under a canopy of trailing vines. The sun is lovely and warm. The sky a perfect blue. Not a cloud in sight. The beautiful old table’s entire surface is covered — with platters of food and bottles of wine, all kinds of condiments and bread and butter and freshly-picked flowers.
We’re packed kind of close together, sitting on an assortment of different chairs, but no one cares. We’re enjoying the setting, the company, the meal and the day. The conversation flows as easily and liberally as the wine; and laughter fills the air.
A moment in time, captured. Frozen forever. But …
Each of us, in the photograph, is doing something different. One of the guests has his eyes closed, anticipating (make that almost drooling) the moment he will pop that tasty morsel of perfectly-grilled lamb into his mouth, tasting it for the first time, savouring it for the first time. Another is staring at the sauces, trying to decide between the tzatziki, the dijon, the mint or the harissa — not yet realizing she doesn’t have to choose — she can have all.
Another, quicker than the others, is already chewing. Another has abandoned the plate heaped with food in front of her and is, instead, sipping from her freshly-filled wine glass. Yet another has temporarily laid down his knife and fork, preferring, for the moment, to engage his closest neighbour in conversation — who knows about what. And on it goes around the table.
Twenty-one of us. All in the same garden, at the same table, at the same time. In the same moment. Yet …
Yet for each of us, the moment in time is different. We are each having our own moment in time, our own experience, at the same time as we are sharing a collective moment in time. Captured for eternity.
You can’t say I didn’t warn you. I did say it was convoluted. But something I will probably think about more often now. And I’ll definitely look at photos differently from here on in. And, hopefully, take them more ‘consciously’.