Momo and I have just returned from a couple of weeks of fresh air, glistening blue skies and sea-blown green fields of Prince Edward Island Canada. Although Maurice maintained adamantly that the sky was red and the grass was blue, and who am I to contradict his sensory perception of the world.
We got home yesterday, and in the evening I put my camera memory card in my computer and downloaded the 300-odd photographs that I had taken during our time there. At the end of the download, my computer asked me politely if I wanted to keep the pictures on my camera, or delete them. As I had no space left on the memory card, I chose to delete, despite a lurch in my stomach that suggested to me that maybe I should keep them, just to be on the safe side….and alas, upon hitting the delete button, my computer started beachballing (you know, the colourful swirly ball that happens on Macs when it’s having a bit of time to think about stuff)….and sure enough, beachballing over, my photos were nowhere to be found on my computer, and now also not on my memory card.
Phnnnnnarggrghghehghgaghsgbbbrrrrrahhhgdsdhgdahgshgggggggggsrarrggggggghhhhnnngggggggg!!!!! is the only way of describing this feeling, when you lose things pointlessly due to a computer lapse of attention. And I’ve spent the past day feeling gutted and bereft of the lovely images i had captured, the moments of sunshine and joy and toddler bonding and family daily stuff with the whole sprawling international family together, which happens once in a blue moon. But it has also got me thinking about the nature of memory in this digital age that we find ourselves in, and why these images were so important to me, when I was there and experiencing these moments first hand so it’s not like I missed out on them happening at the time…I haven’t lost the memory…or have I?
How many times are you experiencing something, but are only half there because you’re so busy snapping it and recording it to savour (or share digitally) later, and therefore experiencing it via a screen in the first place? Have we lost the ability to absolutely connect to what is happening right at this very present moment?
I may have lost the images to print and place on the wall for ever after (sniff sniff), but I can retrace my memory steps and salvage snapshots to take with me as an imprint on my mind’s eye all my life. I will always feel a smile on my face as I recall the scene of Maurice, his cousins Senan and Sadie racing along the beach together, the look of absolute unbridled joy on Maurice’s face to be in such a wonderful situation of fun and excitement. The scene of the three of them twirling around in circles until they fall down one by one in the sand. The scene of each of them running into and out of the water with buckets to make their red sand sandcastles. The “Summer 2013” scrawled in the sand, which I was idly imagining making a theme of, taking one every summer and then creating a big wall frame of beach summers past in a decade or so’s time. Then there are the landscape scenic shots… of the front lawn of my gran’s house, majestic and strong, resting on the north shore of the island, green lawn endlessly extending out and reaching towards the blue blue sea. Pictures of the tail end of a sunrise at 6am, with glorious cloud swirly and wispy formations, and a flock of geese in their wonderfully fluid V-shape passing across the bluey pinky white sky. The feeling of the dewy grass underneath my feet, and slightly brisk wind but the burgeoning brightness portending another hot and sunny day. Senan and Maurice running around with me as I aim my camera at the sky and the surroundings. Pictures of Senan that morning, showing me proudly his money that the tooth fairy had left for him for the prize of his first tooth the previous night, and then declaring that he didn’t want to stay outside to watch the rest of the sunrise as it was quite boring really. Fair enough.
As I roll through the camera images in my mind, I’m fixing them there as an album to be leafed through in future days. Chances are, the majority of these pics would possibly be left dormant and un-viewed on my computer anyway. But now I have them for safe keeping up in my memory, easily accessible if I ever browse the days of PEI this summer.
So whenever you’re in a situation which feels like one that you want to commemorate, and you’re holding your camera or phone aloft and snapping away for prosperity, make sure you take doubles, one in your camera and one in your mind.
Until the next time….