in december i started a photo project, where i’d intended to gather all of the photos my mama left behind to create a picture book to accompany her journals. it seemed a better way to archive everything, instead of keeping them hidden in the pages of her many journals. but after i’d started i realized i’d not had a simple way to link each photo to a specific journal entry, which without doing, seemed like dismantling her thoughts. so the photo project turned into a full-fledged book project, where i’ve decided to turn each journal into a book, where the photos will accompany her entries in the places she intended.
it isn’t something i need to do since i don’t have children or other family to hand them down to, but i feel called to preserve them anyway, in a way she’d be proud of, as silly as that might sound. photos enamor me, especially snapshots of people. i could stare into a person’s captured eyes for hours, and feel as if i’m in a trance, cause my heart sometimes finds a connection with others in just that way. cameras have a knack for capturing sadness, even when it’s behind the twinkle in a lover’s iris, and i’m fascinated by how many expressions we all carry to hide it, and how similar we are in our reasons for doing so. something inside me wants to crawl inside photos and hug people real hard, then run away before they realize they don’t know me, and i don’t belong in the shot.
this is especially strong when i look at mama’s photo, the one my dad took of her in the back of a truck, looking at him with an odd blend of purity, desire, and rebellion. i suspect she was all of those things, but it was the subtle teariness her look exuded that led that snapshot to visit me in dreams, and why i think that same truck became the model i bought one day. i can’t jump in that photo to hug mama like i wish to, but something shone through her eyes in milliseconds that led me to seek a way to create love that might honor the teariness she covered up with her beauty, a teariness we all cover up when we’re fretting about accomplishing some mission, and it seems tears might cause us to slip and fall.
each week my husband and i take the truck out for a long drive to any remote country road before pulling over in a tall grass field. we spend a whole day picnicking, making love, and planting handfuls of flower seeds that grow only inches above the soil which can’t be seen from the road. these flowers are a secret, planted in mama’s honor because i view her as a hidden beauty, only wanting to be seen by the likes of someone enjoying the grass for nature’s sake, then stumbling upon her happenstance-like.
i think lovely things are purposefully hidden, so that when we happen upon a millisecond of beauty, we’re encouraged to examine the wonder of our surroundings with more intensity, which leads to finding gratitude for how the tears we hid watered unseen soil, then colored our walk with unexpected life in fulfillment of promise.