My camera broke! And I am bereft. Now I have to wait 10 business days to get it back. I didn't realize it was such a necessary appendage, until it was amputated. I need my camera to see, to experience, to relive the moment that I frame with the lens.
I was so happy with my new camera. Especially the zoom. Now I could take pictures of birds, before they zoomed away. I use my camera to see. Right now I have a monstruous hibiscus in the back yard. I am thrilled because I brought it back to life after last year, nursing it tenderly through the Winter in the house. I don't have a lot of garden successes, so when I do have one, I want to record it. I wanted to zoom with an eye more perceptive than my own, until that hibiscus looked like a Georgia O'Keefe.
I got a twin lens reflex when I was in high school, and I took a photography class. I roamed L.A. taking photos. What a thrill! Sneaking up on strangers, turning my camera just so, a sad soul sleeping in the park, a boy with an ice cream face, body builders at muscle beach, silhouetted against the sunset, two lovers kissing, their faces blending into one perfect Picasso puzzle.
My sister's wedding. She sits on the bed, half dressed in her gossamer gown. Does the shadow behind her smile reveal that the marriage won't last?
My dog Sandy, forever young and alive, as he jumps in the air with a beatific grin on his face. I look at it and remember the silk of his fur, though he has been dead for over forty years.
A treasured photo of my boyfriend, (soon to be husband), as he lies on the couch, in a dream sleep, looking like Errol Flynn. Didn't I just take his photo, the other day, as he lay in our bed, clutching his favorite stuffed rabbit? Though a much older man, than his younger self, he is still thrillingly handsome, after 48 years.
And what about the photos of my two sons as they grew from babies, to toddlers, to young men, with bright new faces on every Christmas card.
I have had so many adventures following my camera up the river and over the sea. I caught the tourne-soleil in Aix en Provence, the crazy Gaudis in Barcelona. Egrets in Key Largo, hummingbirds on my porch.
For me, taking photos is like breathing. It is how I see what my inner eye sees. I encapsulate the image in a poem, or a painting. I only paint from my own photos, for that is my vision, unique.
As each of us is unique. I look at a photo of myself, and learn what is behind my smile, what is in my soul.
I love clicking through my digital camera looking at my photos as they flash through the seasons. Time is compressed. In Winter, I see Summer, in Spring, I see Fall.
My life's experience is in my photos. The photo of my parent's house, before we sold it. The giant palm tree. Would it exist otherwise? My husband makes fun of shutterbugs who crowd every monument. But for me, I am catching the moment, holding it in my heart and head, forever. If I didn't take a photo, would it still be there in my heart and head? Would it have actually existed?
I must wait 10 long business days. If a tree falls in the forest, and no one is there to hear it or see it, did it fall? If a hummingbird lights on my hand, and I can't take its photo, will I be able to hold that treasure in my mind? Is there life without a camera? I will soon find out.
Update: It's been over a month! I finally got my camera back! It works. What did I do all this time without a camera when I saw those mimosas bending over the Delaware, pink halos, atop their heads illuminated in holy light? I wrote a poem. What did I do when my granddaughter marched off to her new job, looking gorgeous? I told her she looked gorgeous. What did I do when I saw that golden gold finch eating the seeds of my first sunflower to bloom, and he stayed there and he stayed there spitting out seeds and I could have had the best picture of a gold finch in the world. I got mad! But now, I have my camera once again. And I can march out into the world with a third eye. Praise God!