Last January one of my daughters shepherded me through the relatively minor technical work needed to begin this blog, giving me a nicely calendared progression of posts upon which to reflect.
Recently I found on my husband’s computer the 500 digital photographs–among tens of thousands he took–that he rated highest. I studied them to try to discern exactly why these were so special to him. Some were obvious: pictures of all our children, and other family members, and me (I am a very reluctant subject and he cleverly captured the latter from afar, without my noticing); pictures of nature–from an up-close tiny blue newt on our daughter’s shoe to panoramic mountain ranges–from three continents.
Some–like some of the favorite photographs I am posting here–may require a little bit more interpretation. One I took at a farmer’s market after depositing a child at school on a gorgeous late August day; another was taken at a wedding, on a boat in Boston Harbor; another, an observer would be unlikely to know, is of flags waving atop a white picket fence in the aftermath of a murderous shooting spree just up the street from our home last spring. Our little town’s police chief was shot to death, and four other officers grievously wounded. The town’s lone elementary school’s parking lot had become a staging ground for an armed standoff.
Sometimes the story behind a photograph is nothing like you would imagine.
I decided to take yet another cue from Jim and try to wrap up this year on the blog by finding one photograph and post from each month of this blog’s brief but extremely therapeutic (for me) existence: not necessarily technically the best photograph I took that month, or the best-written post, but the ones which have some special meaning to me. I may not even know yet why, but I’ll take a stab at it.
January is a close call, because the single poem I would want everyone I know to read, Kindness, is found in another of the month’s first dozen posts (The Other Deepest Thing). But the post to which I return most frequently is The Things He Carried. The title is a take on Tim O’Brien’s novel (with the intriguing narrator of self-consciously dubious reliability), and writing this post about the few small things my husband–who was not tied to material goods in the way most people are–carried to the end truly helped me to think about the ways in which an object without any monetary value can be rendered priceless, imbued with stories, with love and friendship and the fondest of memories.
I had the sense that I wrote nearly constantly in February, although in fact it appears that my roiling winter mind churned out only a few more posts than it had in January. Again I have a close runner-up (Renewing Rituals), but it was closely followed by Coletanea de Death Cab–the post in which I reflected on being alone–but not entirely–during the long drive back from a memorial service in New Jersey. Continue reading “Learning Curve”