I’ll be kind enough to warn you now: this is not going to be a “life is rosy” kind of post. If I’m going to blog in order to share who I am with others, currently and in the future, then I need to be honest. Sometimes I keep the bad stuff to myself instead of sharing the details, but tonight it’s time to Get Real.
- My computer is dead, and it took my pictures with it. The trusted shop where we got the second opinion echoed the first diagnosis. These are the folks who reassured me that it is nearly always possible to rescue files, so I had held onto hope.
- There simply is not a nice way to break that news to a person. This afternoon, dashed hope came with tears that would not go away. Until they did, with great effort… and then they started again like an annoying leaky faucet. I slipped a homemade mix CD into the stereo went for a drive with the tears dripping down my cheeks, playing my oldest son’s “Indestructible” metal mix on volume 23 (11 is plenty loud on a normal day in my minivan).
- The combination of loud noise and stress may well explain my aching head and shoulders, but I know that it is mostly due to a heavy heart and swollen sinuses from crying. Honestly, I recognize that this is a first-world problem — dead computer, photographs lost forever — and not anything life-threatening or hazardous to health.
- My husband and sons don’t worry about such things as photos, cameras, and scrapbooks. I suspect they could blissfully go through life without any of those things; I know they do not understand my need (is that too strong of a word?) to document our experiences nor do they suffer gladly when I stop often in my attempts to capture beauty. I have admitted to myself that I am the only one who cares of these things. They have become a part of who I am, so when I got the fatal confirmation at 3pm, I felt like a piece of me had been cut out and tossed in the trash. Now I am left wondering where I go from here, knowing that the rest of the family doesn’t bother to look at photographs that I have taken and realizing more and more that I am alone in my interests. No one else would sit and watch the slideshow of our vacation pictures more than once. Many of the things that fill my time and energy, the things in which I have interest, have no meaning to the rest of my family. It hurts to think that I am spending time and effort, pouring myself into things that are unappreciated by my family. When I die, will they all look at each other, shrug, and delete the files?** There is a very good chance that no one else but me will ever miss those many months of photographs that are now gone forever, trapped in my dead computer.
- As I silently sat on a rock near the fast-flowing river (ironically, in a neighborhood called Peaceful Valley), a Canada Goose paddled and waddled its way upstream in front of me. At one point, it was only 6 feet away but it never gave indication that I was observed. Then, not more than 5 minutes later, a small river otter came bounding up the rocky beach, alternately swimming and running. It leaped upon the partially submerged tree about 12 feet away from where I sat, played tag with itself as it ran over and swam around the tree, and then continued up the beach and over the berm into the grasses. At its closest, we were perhaps 4 feet apart, yet I might as well have been invisible for all the attention I received from this amazing creature. It was at that point that I realized I had just seen a “picture” of how I was feeling: invisible, unimportant, of no consequence.
**When my mother died, there were a number of things that had been important to her that no one wanted. For example: she took a trip to Scandinavia sometime in the last 10-15 years, but never shared her pictures with me. They were stored on her computer with no journaling to explain what she had photographed or where — and more importantly why she had taken the picture. In the end, the family member who was tasked with clearing work and personal files off that computer deleted the pictures. And while I do journal in my scrapbooks, who is going to want a big pile of scrapbooks?