Saturday, July 20, 2013

Just This Moment

When Pope Francis was elected, I watched on TV.  I was so intrigued by the fact that so many people were recording on their phones and devices, I wondered if any of them were actually watching the event.  Of the thousands of people there, only a handful of them were actually there.  How often have I been so hard-set on getting a picture or video that I actually miss what is going on?

I realized it for myself when I was at the Children's Museum with my kids a while ago.  The theme was yellow rubber duckies, and there was a play pit full of them.  The kids were having a blast, rolling around and piling them up.  I had my phone out and was calling to them to look here, pose there, smile at me...and when I looked at the pictures later I realized I hadn't spent one second of the time simply watching them play or even playing along.  I couldn't even remember their laughter as they giggled in a pit of rubber ducks.

A bit after the fact, but still pretty cool.
This evening, the moon was rising over Mount Rainier in a phenomenal view.  It was just coming over the top, and as such the moon was enormous and almost full.  I started darting my attention around, trying to find a place to pull over and capture it.  There was a man on a motorcycle who was almost frantically trying to find a place to take a picture.  He would zoom past me, pull over, snap a shot, then zoom further down the road to take another shot.

I realized that in my desperation to take a picture, I was denying myself the enjoyment of this sight.  I took a breath and really let it sink in.  The moon was soft and nearly full, and appeared almost as wide as the top of the mountain.  It was extraordinary, like something you'd see in a National Geographic magazine, or a coffee table book.  True, having a picture to share on Facebook would be fun, but does the pursuit of the picture need to override the moment itself?

How annoyed am I that I missed one of Ichiro's final home-runs as a Mariner because I was trying so hard to get a picture of it?  It is an interesting mind-set to explore.  The great thing about the digital era is that I can take a thousand pictures of something and not be "wasteful".  But I wonder how much of my own life-experience I am missing because I'm trapping myself behind a lens.  How much of my children's joy am I genuinely missing because I'm so busy trying to capture photographic evidence?

I love taking pictures.  I love the challenge of figuring out how to frame a picture for maximum impact.  I love being able to capture a moment of beauty when it arises.  I need to find balance.  There is a beauty in balance, how much photo time I need to put in and how much time with my camera in the bag simply soaking up the energy of the moment.  My children won't remember all of the pictures I take, but they will remember if I was looking at them in person or through a viewfinder.  It is not often I see the full moon behind the mountain in such a breathtaking way, why not simply experience it?

That's it.  I need to clarify within myself when to capture beauty, and when to simply let it flow.  For now, I plan to practice observing and enjoying beauty, and letting some of the fleeting moments go.  They are fleeting for a reason.  The beauty is to be experienced and shared.

I deserve BEAUTY in my life!

1 comment: