May 14, 2013

no photos allowed

Fact: cameras are not greeted with open arms at dance recitals or Holy First Communions.  This weekend I attended both a recital AND a Communion and found myself bumping against these set in stone rules.  But I hate using flash anyway!  I have a zoom lens!  I'm Catholic and can be discrete in church!  promise.  No matter, neither me nor any other audience member all the day long was going to get a shutter fired off (I'm lucky I got the few shots on the up and up that I did) 

I stewed, but my muttering up in the choir loft easily changed to prayer among all those lilting voices.  I was a better person for it: even without my camera the importance of the day came rapidly in to focus.  I was watching my niece receive her First Communion, a HUGE event for our faith, on the same altar I had delightedly first held her as Godmother.   Later that evening, I would watch another niece dance her heart out- graceful, confident, proud.  It ended up being the kind of day that overflows with bittersweet gratitude.  I barely noticed when the rains began; I almost didn't even miss photographing the weekend's moments as they expanded, billowy and girly sweet.  

A good many years ago Champ and I went backcountry hiking out West with friends. At one point we spent days on end traversing  Canyonlands, mainly in the Maze District.  John Mayer's song, "3x5", was playing on the radio that summer and the pop station had it ingrained in our heads.  Evening after evening we'd heat up our ramen noodles and watch the most fantastical light show I had ever (and have never since) seen.  It would begin at dusk and go on into the wee hours of the night; starting on the buttes, spilling sunset rays into the canyons turning golden as they scooped up the day hot light.  Just when it seemed to end, our eyes would raise and silvery stars would connect into constellations I only knew from books.

Today skies are painted colors of a cowboy's cliche'
And strange how clouds that look like mountains in the sky
Are next to mountains anyway.

Didn't have a camera by my side this time
Hoping I would see the world with both my eyes.  

There was no way John Mayer was singing to anyone else but us that summer.  This weekend he performed an encore.  And today- a Tuesday long after the events have ended?  The pictures behind my eyes are something worth talking about.

Maybe I will tell you all about it when
I'm in the mood to lose my way, 
but let me say
you should have seen that sunset with your own eyes.


koreen (aka: winn) said...

As a fellow non-flash-using photographer, I'm offended when told "no photos" although most times the rule refers to the use of flash. At the same time, it's addicting to not use a camera... to use both eyes and just exist in the moment. How to do both?

Emmy said...

I hate when they say you can't take pictures, even if I wasn't planning on it it just makes me want to take them that much more.. guess the rebellious side in me comes out ;)

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