The other day, I was running at Mt Tabor while the sun rose, and it was glorious. It was the kind of sunrise that turns the whole world pink and orange and glowy, where everyone at some point, despite themselves and their busy lives, stops everything to look up at the wonder of the sky. The varied thrush are recently back in the park from their higher-elevation summer homes, and the morning was so quiet other than their ethereal calls, and the whole thing was just so fricken beautiful that I thought my heart might break open. And for half a second, I wished I had a camera, as blunt of an object to share such a magical moment as it is, just to be able to look back at it later.
(a totally unrelated sunset at the coast, also magical in its own right, but much more documented;)
I frequently feel this way when I run at Mt Tabor, that it is so magical and I should have a camera. And yet I never, ever bring a camera or a phone with me when I run. And I realized with this last sunrise that when you get right down to it, I actually like holding onto these morning moments as secret things to myself. Something that I saw that doesn’t last and that I hold onto just in my own memory — something that is a secret shared maybe by the others who also saw the sunrise, but not something that gets sent to a friend or posted to the internet or anything, maybe just described to someone like I’m doing here who can imagine their own secret, beautiful, magical sunrise.
Secret things seem important, somehow — sacred, maybe, like it’s important to have moments that exist only for themselves and the way I am in the brief time I share with them. Moments that are not to be consumed later, flattened, in a photograph. (Yes, I agree that pictures can be super amazing at sharing a mood or a moment, but not every mood or moment.) These sunrise moments of quiet birdsong and brisk air and the peacefulness of being up before most other people are their own category of magic, magical in their ephemerality.
So I keep running and not recording, and I keep these secret things stashed away where they feed my soul. And I will certainly tell you all about it if you ask, and my eyes will sparkle as I relive the moment and try to describe it, but you’ll ultimately have to find your own secret thing to know what I’m talking about for realz, and how the secret is part of the magic too.
I’ve got mixed/complicated feelings on this one.
I was more of the “live in the moment” through the later 90’s into the aughts. I didn’t want to sully the experience by doing anything so gauche such as take a photograph. The moment would be for me, in my memory.
As the years go by, I wish I had more photographs from then. Memories fade and I’m longing for more hard evidence of the things I did, the experiences I had, the people I knew. These images don’t have to be shared with others, just for me to enjoy. But I can’t go back and change that.
Yeah, I feel like I didn’t write this quite right. I’m very glad to have pictures to remind me of things, like I’m glad we took pictures on our bike trip, and I like having pictures from old bike trips, and I like old pictures of friends and all that (although, side note, I definitely don’t look at old pictures as much as I always think I will). When I travel by myself, I like taking pictures so I can share the experience at least a little with people afterward.
AND, I also like having some things that are purposely only for me and only for that moment. So, as in all things, a balance:)