I was going to write about our vacation. I was going to put a happy spin on things, listing the fun we had and the memories made. I was going to post pictures, and I was going to tell the story of our family and their latest traveling adventure. I may still. But, I can’t tell that story until I purge the one that is eating away at my thoughts in the silence…
Let me just put an end to the built up shock that I have caused and note that all of the above did happen, and we made memories that were worth every cent we put into that vacation and so much more. I actually started the post, working about 2 pages in and just walking away from it all for hours. It wasn’t where I needed to be.
Have you ever began to write something, and it just didn’t fit? The timing, the feeling you get—Something isn’t right, and the words aren’t flowing for a reason. I realized my reason tonight, as I sat in the bathtub alone. It’s the solidarity I need to send my thoughts echoing in the empty spaces around me, slamming me with their precise meanings when I am naked and defenseless. I realized tonight that the vacation came to me, but there was one tiny event that held more significance than it appeared. I was telling myself to go to the vacation with my words, but it wasn’t the vacation itself that was to be shared with the world. It was the man who held my camera….
Just one steady moment, as we held our faces in frozen smiles. The man to our left had offered to take our picture so that we were all together in front of the towering statue of King Neptune. He snapped a few, frowning in the sunlight. The moment ended quickly, and the camera was handed back. The man instructed me to check the picture, and I did with a bit of frustration. Neptune did not completely have a head. Put on the spot, I told him that I was sure they were fine and thanked him. The man walked off, his good deed of the day checked off of his list.
As we walked away, I turned to Quentin to tell him that that is what is wrong with our generation. Photo skills are lost with cell phones. He nodded, I’m sure agreeing to a point. But, there was more to what I felt than I had expressed. Alas, the moment stuck with me. It ate at me for days, and I couldn’t pinpoint what it was about the man with the camera…until tonight.
It was the whole picture. Not the one on my camera, not the man himself. It was as if I was surveying the entire scene as a whole: The man, frowning at the sunlight and failing to see the breathtaking statue behind us and to hear the waves crashing in the distance. That burning sunlight, without a cloud in the sky. And, even the family in front of him–Two young parents working so hard to bring their little boys to the beach each year. Just a step back, and he could have captured the statue. Just a moment to breathe, and he could have made that memory whole. Instead, the photos were snapped in that robotic way that we are inclined. The man’s eyes never truly opened to his surroundings. And, he was gone after a paper thin gesture.
Of all the horror that is hitting our world right now, this is the image that scares me the most. We have become a generation of robots. Our eyes do not see the grays, the hidden, the tiny bits. Our society sees what it is programmed to see. Photos are dying, as cell phones with sloppy precision have become the norm. And, the pictures taken are more of one’s self than the everyday amazement that is escaping their blind eyes. Words are dying. People cannot express themselves beyond the general knowledge of drab, meaningless context. Our descriptions are lost, and with them go our sight. For, imagination drives our eyes beyond the boundaries. Have you listened to the music in the last few years? It’s gone. Substance is lost, and even the feel of the rhythm in the verse is stifled by artificial editing and voice-overs. If we cannot sing, and write, and capture the memories…Who are we in this world?
There are a select few who hold on, and I cannot help to believe that it is nothing short of utter torture. Our minds are still set on the beauties of the sky, the poetry in our hearts, and the power of that song, but we are trapped in a world that will oppress every ounce of our being. Throughout our lives, we will be forced to steel our eyes, lower our voice, and erase that song in our head. We are fire, to the people who have been raised to fear the flame. And, because of this, our entire lives will be spent struggling through two worlds: the world we are diminished to and the world we could thrive in. We are in the wrong time, but we do still exist. I can’t help think that, maybe the man with my camera was not blinded by the sun…