USE YOUR WORDS
There are two photographs that sit high atop a shelf in my mother's home in one of those flip albums. I am endlessly curious about the photos taken when I was probably about seven years of age. I appear in the foreground smiling like a loon and my younger sister appears in the background looking like the recent victim of an older sister beatdown. The following photo, taken in the space of a camera click, depicts poor Frannie getting scolded by an out of frame villain and Delilah, my younger sister, still looking somewhat victimized in the back. Two photos taken within minutes of each other and I haven't a single memory as to the events surrounding them. I have examined the background of each in a vain attempt to gather clues to no avail. My mother was no use since her recollection fared as well as my own. The pictures are both so striking, so funny, yet that moment is gone and I am left to speculate.
Thanks to the marvelous little camera that resides in my phone I find myself relying upon my memory even less. Why bother? I can just snap a photo. I have taken pictures of shoes I want, products in magazines and the exact brand of chimichangas my husband likes. I take pictures ALL THE TIME of the most mundane things. Only a tiny fraction end up on Instagram or on my blog. I mostly just have a lot of images- some of which mean absolutely nothing.
If a picture is worth a thousand words...why don't I remember any of them? It's true, I can try and come up with a story explaining what I see...but would it be the truth?
Yesterday, my neighbor's chickens got out of his yard while he was away. I don't live in a rural area...I live in Seattle, so you can imagine what it looks like to see several of these birds congregating on your lawn. Ronin was barking like a bloody maniac and I went outside to see what could be done. At its height, the drama encompassed Keith and I as well as two other neighbors. We all did our best to chicken wrangle...I mostly laughed and blocked them from walking up the street. Finally the two dudes picked them up, took them back and locked the gate without incident. Once we returned to our respective dwellings and Ronin drifted off to sleep, I lamented to Keith that I didn't even get a single picture. His response..."it just happened, you still remember it. " Ever the writer, my husband doesn't rely upon pictures, he relies upon himself to create the narrative. Once upon a time I did as well.
It occurred to me that I didn't want to play a guessing game in the next 30 years when I look through my scrapbooks. I want to read my story and fondly reminisce. It's cool if the sticker says "best day ever" but I really want to remember why.
Note to self: use your words, you know a lot of them, you're pretty good at stringing them together, and your spelling isn't half bad either.
image of rooster courtesy of the graphics fairy