History in a Stack of Time
Packages from my mother have been arriving recently, with photographs I have never seen. She had apparently tucked them away in a box or album somewhere, these vaguely familiar shots of family, picnics, parties, Christmas, even sheets of school photos. Each one captures a moment in time, a moment not unlike what you are experiencing as you read this continuous stream of being. I see each photograph as a micro second of time, an expression of my grandfather’s face, the overly decorated Christmas tree in the background, a gesture, a turn of a head, a kiss on a child's cheek—all captured in the invention of a photograph.
These moments never to be repeated, captured or lived again. There is no going back to my grandfather smiling while he cuts a cake or the belly laugh of my grandma that caused her to fall backward on a chair. Or the way wind blew through my sister's hair while we stood on a rock somewhere in Oregon. The precious image of the sweetness of my son wrapped in a blanket asleep in his crib. Such memories are a stack of history because someone had a camera and clicked a button.
A Grainy Photo
Tucked in are grainy photographs of a familiar theme: the outdoors. We were so small when our mother took us camping, fishing and hiking. And when she couldn’t join us on a trail, which was most of the time, my sister and I took off on our own for short little jaunts. Many times I have reflected on our upbringing, very little money, moving from home to home, forever changing schools with the camping gear our only common thread. The outdoors was in our DNA, it is where we set up a tent, fished for dinner, lit a fire and made S'mores.
At one point we lived in an area with a stream in our yard, Sulfur Creek. I'd walk it for hours as it wound through the hills. It was my peace, my escape from chaos and the secrets I kept. A photograph can never capture the full beauty of nature, but that hike captured my memories.
I remember each step of that creek: the thorny blackberry bushes, the smell of eucalyptus, the fear of poison oak. Hiking further up I sensed the pungent smell of sulfur wafting through the trees. The sounds of water rippling over rocks, tadpoles and frogs scampering with the shifts of my shadow. Hours would go by until the sun dipped into dusk.
Power of Nature
As I reach the last of the old photographs, I find myself now at 52, still exploring, never wanting to turn around. And yet, I also see that child learning to cope with secrets, finding comfort in nature. I feel a lovely sense of peace mixed with sorrow for that little girl. But she knew one thing—getting lost in nature had miraculous healing powers. It was the right kind of lost
The right kind of lost is where my soul lives and thrives, where I shake off the chaos and live in the moment. I have no more secrets. My life is full and the future is mine.
AdventurousBug is my gift to the beauty that is being a woman.
I hike. I will always hike. Sometimes I take a photograph; other times I put the camera away. I breathe in my surroundings, tucking the memory away in my mind with all the others—in my own private album. Smiling, I walk on, happy that I get to witness the beauty of Earth.
How lucky am I.