Monday, September 17, 2012

The Best Pictures

When I close my eyes and think about it, I can vividly recall just about every detail of Artist Point on a sunny day in May now well over five years ago. My then partner in crime and I had just finished an awesome trek from Hell Roaring Creek to Gardiner, MT. A trip filled with vibrant wildflowers, a bit of hitchhiking due to an injury, serene tent sites along the river, some big mileage days and always wondering if we had hung the food high enough. I took a lot of pictures during the trek.

On the way back to Colorado, we stopped at Artist Point. It was a place I had always wanted to see after my mom described the sheer beauty of it to me. Dirty, sweaty and grubby from a few days in the backcountry, I set my pack down and dropped to my knees when I saw what was before me. The colors, contours and unique elegance of nature was captivating. I reached for my expensive camera that had all the cool bells and whistles at the time, thinking that this would be a picture to enlarge, frame and hang in my living room to always preserve the memory

Ugh. Battery was toast. No charger.

For a second, I was a bit sad that I would not have any pictures of this amazing place.  Then I just gazed at the scene before me in complete silence and total awe. I let the details and the colors soak into my memory. I sat for another half an hour probably, knowing that this was a picture that would never be lost or buried somewhere on my computer. I closed my eyes and captured a "picture" I can forever instantaneously recall.

Sometimes I look back on the days before I blogged about every hiking trip, 14er summit and took pictures of my bike by every sign post and every trail. I spent a month in New Zealand backpacking and I can remember the "nonphotographed" places sometimes more than the nine million pictures I took. I love some of those memories because the feelings they evoke are rejuvenating. I wasn't worried about documenting it anywhere so I didn't just snap a pic and go....I didn't feel motivated to share it with  the world. They didn't go straight to a Facebook post with some clever caption. An experience minus documentation posted for the world to see. Yes. It did exist at one time.

I miss that time. I kind of feel like this guy sometimes. (Which served as the inspiration for this post). I feel that I am caught up in the life documentation frenzy and it just doesn't sit right in my heart. I think it hit me a few months ago when I found myself actually taking pictures specifically to put on this blog. Ugh! Not proud of that at all. That's not me.

As much as I love to write for personal analysis and catharsis, I also like to share my thoughts, experiences, highs and lows with those that are interested in laughing at or finding inspiration in my journey through life. But the world of social media and the everyday "look what I did" picture is infiltrating itself as I am beginning to see that I am sometimes losing the "now" to the "what's next" to obtain blog fodder. That realization over the last few months is unsettling.

When I slow down and savor each detail and relish the present memory is flawless and the pictures that live in my heart are priceless and sacred. Lately, I am finding myself reaching for the camera a lot less and my GoPro is headed for Craigslist. I am not saying that pictures of beautiful sunsets, places, trails and bikes are wrong or that I am not bringing my camera anymore. I just want to be able to close my eyes and, similar to Artist Point, vividly remember the feelings and emotions from a lot more places and experiences.

I like real. Authentic life, relationships, conversations and emotion first exist offline. I struggle to find authenticity with this other world we have created online. And as ironic as this sounds, I appreciate my awareness of this struggle and the struggle itself.

From it, I grow....and it reminds me to:

Turn the quiet up, turn the noise down
Let this ol' world just spin around
I wanna feel it sway, wanna feel it sway

I want a little more right now, 
A little less what's next....

-Eric Church

Good Afternoon, Good Evening and Goodnight.... (Sorry you have to endure the political advertisement before the clip).

1 comment:

  1. Jill, I totally get it.
    I had a blog for a few years myself and last year stopped altogether. This online world we've created is fantastic in many ways and very hallow and not real in many ways. I chose to get off the social media bus and just live my life in the now and share my experience through conversation and sharing in the first person. It's a weird world we've created, many people are having these same disconnects with being overly connected. It's not a race, it's not a competition, just get out and live your life to the fullest because it will come and go so quickly and if you're the only one to know how wonderful it was, well that's all that matters in the end.
    Have fun out there!