Monday, February 8, 2010

Words for pictures

The temperature dropped suddenly, maybe the rains are over for a few days.  The sky has been toying around with so much water it's been  hard to tell where the sky starts and the ocean ends. 
But some days there is no question as to where the waters of the earth end and the sky begins. That's how the sun set tonight.  The horizon, which I have not been able to see of late, was suddenly a commanding sure line of  tourqouise in the fleeing light and the sky a softeness of blue I'd almost forgotten.  The clouds, not as heavy as they've been, float with golden light from the day's final rays.
I could take a picture of it with a simple aim and a click but somehow today that feels like it would be a lazy choice.  You may have heard the popular parenting encouragement given to frustrated or tantrum bound children, "use your words."  That's what I told myself tonight.  "Use your words. Maybe you'll see more or differently if you'll use your words."
I mean to co-operate with myself, to listen, to let the words sail toward the inner horizon, but winter time is often a quiet time. The sky and the waters within have been defying distinctions and guidance of the stars is hidden.
Yesterday a man told me that he doesn't know what will become of all the digital images that people take anymore.  His parents' generation, he said, they had maybe one or two portraits taken and a few  family shots per year.  A family's photographs could all fit in one album.  "Who will look at all the pictures? " he asked.  Yes, and who will read all the words that are written?
Subtle sepia and framed on heavy black paper, I have some of those photographs.  It is true, there are very few of them and they are precious. 
Today two stray buttons made me cry. Mother of pearl, an inch and half diameter, two holes to run the thread through, they made me cry. They were my mother's, that's all it took.  I'd look at the pictures. I would read her words.

 Write the words, use your words.  No, I'm  buttoning up.  I have seen my shadow. It's still the dead of winter.


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