“Time is at once the most valuable and the most perishable of all our possessions.”
It was the day before and after a cold front. Winter in Florida is fickle.
I picked the boys up and knowing that Kyle would be working late, I suggested a quick trip to the beach. Deep down I knew that I wanted to get some photos of them frolicking in the sunset and unfortunately, the pictures became my focus instead of the fun.
We parked and could see the sky melting into deep hues of gold and pink- the coveted golden hour for photographers. Once the shoes were off and the camera was ready, we hit the sand.
Fully clothed and with so much joy, the boys ran straight for the water. They picked up handfuls of sand, tossing half into the ocean while the other half sifted through clenched fingers onto their heads. Onto me. Near my camera.
They wouldn’t hold still. They didn’t want to stand next to each other. They squealed and ran and threw sand.
And I yelled. I’m a yeller by reflex.
They know it. I know it. We all hate it.
I cringed at the sound of my voice backlit by a sunset fit for poetry and my children splashing in the waves.
I couldn’t see what was unfolding in front me because I was picturing the photograph. How ridiculous.
I should’ve jumped in the water up to my knees. I should’ve grabbed fistfuls of sand and hurled them into the ocean. I should have looked at the seashells they brought me with my eyes instead of my camera.
I should have made memories. Instead, I took pictures of false ones.
That is what project two + four is about. It’s about the memory, not the photograph.
Without the memory, it’s just pixels and paper.
Substitute camera for phone, cleaning, television- whatever your mind numbing vice is.
Let’s put it down. Let’s get messy. Let’s make eye contact! Let’s give our children more memories.
Let’s stop trying desperately to create these lives that aren’t authentic.
‘Cause that’s all just pixels and paper too.
Who’s with me?