Saturday, August 21, 2010

The Wide View

It's been two full weeks since our son's wedding. Today I finally had time to look at a bundle of candid photos that a friend took. Other friends took photos, too. I did not. None, nada. I wanted to be free to simply soak in the entire day in its entirety without spending any mental energy choosing what to view through a tiny lens and then worrying how it came out, did I need to take a second photo, what had I missed, etc, etc.

Many years ago in the early 90's I had the good fortune to make my first trip to Alaska for two weeks. I was so excited (over the top!) and with the trip being in early July when daylight is nearly 24 hours, I honestly don't think I slept much during that entire trip (not even on the airplane there and home again). We purchased our first video camera for that trip so my family could see everything I was seeing when I returned home. I took hours and hours and hours and hours of video during my trip, I'm serious, plus 100's of photographs, too (before the digital camera age). I enjoyed doing that and then sorting, editing, and compiling everything into photo albums (all labeled, too!) along with one single video, complete with voice description, when I got home so I will always have those memories.

However, the one single memory I have from that trip that has stayed with me all these years (and did not need a photo/video to lock into my brain) was a conversation I had with a man who had just returned from an airplane trip that flew him around Mt. McKinley in Denali National Park. I did not have a chance to do that and quickly asked if he took any photos or a video of the views, which must have been breath-taking and spectacular. He quietly responded "no" then slowly followed up his comment by telling me that he knew this trip was a one-time event in his life, that it would never happen again, and that no camera could ever do justice to all he was seeing and feeling while looking at that mountain. Oh, what wise words..............I have remembered them all these years.

So I have this stranger (however, I found that no one is really a stranger in Alaska - at least at that time) who helped make my decision very easy to take no photos during the day of my younger son's wedding. For me, being present at our family's first wedding was even better than having an opportunity to fly around Mt. McKinley in Denali. I've climbed many mountains to get to this day. I knew I would never see everything at the wedding along with what all happened both before and afterward, but I knew I did not want a camera in my hand distracting me from soaking in the wide view, meaning everything I could see at this one-time event along with everything I was feeling at each magical moment in time.

Yes, it was magical. I know I am the luckiest mom alive. I have teared up over and over again during these past two weeks when I think about my good fortune. AND I get to do it all over again next June when our older son is getting married, too. I won't be carrying a camera then either!
Here is just one photo sent by a friend of my husband and me relaxing after the ceremony and prior to dinner being served. It is not a professional shot, it is cropped drastically, but it is one of my favorites. Too bad you can't see my cute shoes and nail polish in this photo - as farmers we had to work really really hard to clean up for this day. I think we did pretty good. :-)
"Cultivate your life - you are what you grow - inch by inch, row by row"

Diana Dyer, MS, RD


Susanna said...


Kateri said...

There is certainly a time to put down the camera and just be totally in the present. You look beautiful and you both look radiantly happy! Congratulations to you both.

Elaine said...

What a beautiful, joyous post to read first as I catch up on your recent writing. Yes, as Kateri commented, you look radiant. Congratulations. And I agree, not taking photos yourself was wise so that you could be in the precious moments.