Snapshots (DOG EAR)

Snapshots (DOG EAR)

ith the advent of cheap yet reliable camera technology, people take pictures of everything now. For every train activity we do, I get at least twenty photos “snapped” of the action. No focus. No lighting hassles. Just point and snap. And who hasn’t seen the wave of selfies (where people block otherwise amazing vistas with their own smiling, V-fingered images) or food shots (I saw someone recently in a McDonalds snapping a photo of their burger). Pictures pictures pictures.

And sure, I take pictures of things. When we went overseas, I took pictures of places I saw (without me in them, of course).

But the thing is, do we no longer create memories? Do we just snap a shot (or a dozen shots) and walk away without a second thought?

I’m a proponent of pausing during or after momentous occasions to consider the meanings and to carefully remember the event. Sure, I know what cops and scientists say, that as time goes on, we remember less and less of the actual and more of the fiction of the moment. But still.

But still.

I can remember my first kiss (outside Wolftrap in Virginia, sitting on the fender of my beetle, the night warm and the lips silky). I remember Diana, the waitress in York, with her spill of curls and dancing eyes. I remember the moment I soloed a home-built plane off Lake Apoka, the madness and the noise and the wind blast. I remember my father, on his death bed, giving me a “what you going to do” shrug. I remember the hi-jinks and passings of every cat I’ve companioned. I remember the early days of my model train club, working to build our first layout on a screened-in porch. And my earliest memory – my father buying me a Clark bar from a beach-side shop in Hawaii.

That’s the thing. I don’t have to finger-scroll through thousands of photos on my phone to show them to you. I can sit across from you in a coffee shop and pick just the right words to convey my memory.

And I feel that, if I die and find Saint Peter is a real thing and he asks what sort of life I’ve led, I’ll take a deep breath and tell him. I won’t reach for my phone.