Thursday, August 4, 2011

Story Time

Sometimes I rely too heavily on pictures to tell my stories here on this blog.

I started the blog to write and very quickly got swept into the beautiful world of photographs on so many other blogs that I admired and aspired to, that I dug out my camera (which I am not prone to remember using and not proficient at using) and began snapping away at the details of my life.

I started snapping and have continued snapping very amateurish photos of things around my home and life, trying very hard to camouflage the messes in my kitchen, trying to tone down the mismatched colors of my children's very mismatched clothes or trying to get just the right lighting to hit a dish of homemade oatmeal set on my counter top.

None of this is wrong or bad. In fact this last year of picture taking has had so many benefits; I've taken a lot more pictures of my children, and have a much better chronicle of the things I'd like to remember as time passes. I would say I have learned small amounts of skills that I have not yet perfected when it comes to taking pictures (although most of the time I just hope I get anything at all before the moment passes or my children move) and I have struggled and strained with  my little point and click and learned a great deal about what I will someday want out of a real camera....(a.k.a. chunky thing)

The biggest thing I still struggle with is actually remembering to take the camera with me anywhere. And then when I do, remembering to have batteries is another issue all together. Already this summer I've had such beautiful experiences that I wasn't able to adequately capture on film such as the Butterfly gardens with my friends, my 3-hour old niece in my arms, or the stunning and tranquil morning just last week that we spent wading in the immaculate pools at our legislative buildings in the city.

All of these stories haven't made it into posts because of the photos I lack. ....

Now, doesn't that seem funny to me all of a sudden, because the whole point of wanting to be a writer is to be able to paint the pictures for my readers; tell a story so vivid that the photograph would perhaps even hinder the process of the story...turning something magical into a journal entry. (again not that journal entries are bad per say... but I've limited myself to photographs too much I fear. Certainly I have limited myself in not telling stories I'd very much like to have shared.

This morning I forgot my camera yet again on a trip to the farmer's market with my kids and for the first half of the trip I internally berated myself for not having brought it. Every time the dappled sunshine filtering through the trees and produce tents lit on their smiling faces was an opportunity wasted and un-captured on film.  I was frustrated that I wouldn't be able to properly convey just how precious it was to watch them slurp away local made raspberry lemonade samples and snack on free cherries left out just for little hands and hungry mouths to munch while I stuffed my bag with all manner of fresh goodies.

I would so like to have shown you the rainbows of color in all their little baskets at every farmer's booth and the tremendous crowd always gathered at the Holden Colony display; that simple, hardworking community of Hutterite farmers that remind me just a little of the roots from which I come.

I stopped and wondered why I couldn't capture all of these things anyway...if not capture them anyway; go beyond what my camera could record and tell you the stories that rest behind the snapshots of a sunny market day. The conversations I overheard of elderly friends seated with ice cream in the center of the park joking with one another about the days of their youth and the misadventures of growing old; all joined in the joke of teasing one old fellow for his once upon a time womanizing days.

Picking up information and asking myself the questions about perhaps signing up to put some of my running practice to good use in September for the Terry Fox run.

Dreaming up lunch with my little girl while picking through the fruits and vegetables and deciding that our meal would consist almost entirely of flats of blueberries. (it was delicious by the way)

And most importantly the story of how on our way back to our vehicle we stopped down on the public waterfront and my daughter in tears came to me and pointed out the body of a small duck, dead and drowned among the weeds at the water's edge.
Holding her and letting her cry over that small baby duck and trying very hard to think of how to explain to her, her very first brush with anything close to death.

"why to things have to die mama?" she cried.
"Well, that's just the way it is" I sighed "Eventually everything has to die"

"But that ducky was just a baby mama, it wasn't old. Baby things aren't supposed to die".

A photograph could never tell the story of how hard this mother's heart searched for words and how tight her little arms were around my neck....

Sometimes moments present themselves when cameras are not around...sometimes moments are better realized when they aren't.

There are many photographs of my own childhood and baby hood that exist. Beautiful heavy albums full of snapshots in frilly Sunday dresses and  diaper clad at the beach...but the story keeper of those moments is long gone and not many words were left to tell me what any of those pictures mean. They are clues with no conclusion.

I think today I realized that as much as I long to take beautiful pictures and have beautiful mementos of our lives, more importantly I need to throw myself back into the waters of telling stories. Finding the words to forever make alive the things that the past renders done. A photograph can jog the memory but only the words can tell the story.

I want to tell the stories more.


  1. I love reading the stories you write. You are a great legacy builder both through words and pictures. That was beautiful.

    The last bit made me want to go love on my own little girl.

  2. What a lovely and true post! Thank you for sharing your stories.

  3. Beautifully put. Your story made me cry. I think you are a fabulous writer. I am always drawn in by what you put out in words. You have an honest, yet positively witty way of sharing things.
    And what you say about getting the right lighting for your photos...made me laugh, because at some point (actually, several times, off and on over the last 2 years) I have stopped doing something, simply because I realized I was doing it for the sake of a photo to put on my blog.



Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...