Wednesday, February 06, 2008

5 Photos I did not take

1. BURNING UP - On my way to Anchorage, not too long ago, near the top of the pass this side of Nenana, I came across a car engulfed in flames with black smoke pouring upward in a column. There were no emergency vehicles there yet and no one attending to the fire. I didn't take the photo for fear of personal injury if the car exploded. Later, I read about it in the News-Miner and wished I had been courageous enough to take the shot and send it in.

2. FISH FRENZY - Snorkling in Hawaii, surrounded by beautiful tropical fish and colorful coral, with my daughter feeding the fish underwater, I didn't take the shots because I lacked the camera equipment. It is a reminder that some things which seem insurmountable are worth the effort and investment.

3. FLYING A - When I was in high school, we used to go to a Flying A gas station. There was a tall sign that posted the gas prices at 35 cents a gallon. At the time it seemed routine, but it's a picture I wish I had today.

4. DADDYS DEATHBED - When my Dad was dying of cancer I would go over every day after I taught preschool and stay with him while his wife went to her afternoon job. Much of the time, especially near the end, he stayed in the master bedroom with the curtains shut so he could watch the small old black and white TV they had in there. There were signs of illness around: the extra padding to keep him from getting bedsores, the box of tissues and trash bag, the feeding instruments needed for his feed tube, the crystal bell he could ring to call when he wanted help and the TV tray/stand that it all sat on next to the bed. The day he died we had him transported to the hospital in the afternoon. My stepmother left with him in the ambulance and I followed shortly after so I could eventually give her a ride back to the house. Before I left I took the time to dismantle the bedroom. I opened the drapes, aired out the smell of sickness, changed the sheets and tidied it up so she would not have to come home and do it. I wish I had taken a photo of that room after he had vacated it, before it was sanitized. It was such a symbol of his absence. At the time I was so emotionally embroiled I did not think to preserve the moment, but now I know those are the moments TO preserve, if possible.

5. COOK CITY CREEK When I was a teenager my family went on a driving trip to Yellowstone Park and had trouble finding a place to stay. Eventually we wound up in a small community at the edge of the park called Cook City Montana. Early the next mroning I got up and explored a creek that ran behind the place we stayed. The beauty of that spot has haunted me ever since. I wish I had preserved on film a piece of that serene moment because it was such a contrast to the chaos of my life at that time.
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