I stopped for gas today with 3 of my kids, heading home, gas light on. I rushed into the gas station on a mission for gas, and balloons - hopefully. Yes - they had them. OK - back in the car, I've got the balloons. The girls want red - ok let's get red. I was hit with a vivid memory - not a specific one mind you, a general memory of balloons. As a child, just how vivid the colors were, and the excitement of which color one might want, or hope for. I could see the color with the sun shining through. I drove away, forgetting to put the gas I just paid for in my tank. I was driving along, thinking about balloons and blog posts, and the magic of childhood - OOPS! The gas. Right. So back I went, and in a flurry of rushing sillyness got the gas into the tank, and with a sigh, headed in the direction of home. And still this vivid colorful balloon floating around in my head.
I was thinking of other memories like that - still so fresh in my mind. Pink and Orange icecream at Baskin Robbins every summer when we visited Oma. The images in "Oh What a Busy Day" by Gyo Fujikawa (If you don't own this book, and have small children you should most definitely go straight out and buy it this instant ) So many things that are so fresh still, just waiting to burst in my head with just a little reminder.
As I drove along the windy road towards home I was struck with how different my memories are now. Not at all so vivid. Much fuzzier - even the really important ones. Just not the same. Cloudier.
And I wondered why.
Is it that as adults we rush around too much? We aren't in the moment enough to *really* stop and taste that icecream ? To look closely at that book and take it all in - with every part of our being?
I watch my Little one in the midst of her "why's" as she asks (repeatedly - of course as she most certainly should ) ...Why? What's that? "Umm that's a jacket sweetie - uhhhh a green jacket." "OH! " she responds with that cheerful exuberance. Everything is exciting and new. Everything.
I wonder what her memories will be one day. What will her special book be? What smell, what color, what song will make her stop and smile?
Is that it? It's all brand new for them? We've been there done that?
I don't know. I think maybe it's that we forget how to *be*. That we get caught up in the day to day, and we forget to stop and smell the flowers, to savour our food instead of hurrying to get past this annoyance of a meal and on to the next thing on our list.
I mean look at the little ones when they eat - they smear it everywhere with great joy! Remember this photo? Just look at that smile! Talk about experiencing food - I mean really - we're sitting there gasping in annoyance at the mess, and they couldn't care less - they are immersed.
What would happen if we slowed down? What would happen if we took more time to really taste our food, to smell those flowers, to enjoy that moment - whatever it is. Would our memories change? Would they be that magical vivid burst that the childhood ones so often are?
My oldest daughter says that every song is attached to a place for her. When she drives along a certain part of the road on the way home, there is a certain song for a certain part of the road. Songs conjure up vivid memories for her - my girl who is still so very in the moment .... my girl who's memories are so vivid - not so dull and cloudy like mine are. I can't help but think that it's because she revels in every moment of the day, bouncing from one creative endeavor to the next. She may not remember where she put her bus pass, but my oh my she's got a store of thrills inside that head, ready and waiting to pop up just at that certain turn in the road.
I think that perhaps the thing that has pulled me into photography as my latest unstoppable, irresistable passion, is the way that it makes me - trains me to notice. To see things differently. To be right here. My eyes see differently now. I can't help but notice the light, how the sun shines so sweetly at certain times in certain windows. And the contrast - everything looks different to me now. I like it. I like that going for a walk is slowed each time I need to stop and snap another picture. I like the noticing.
Maybe it's partly because of my foggy memory that I am loving my camera so much - perhaps one day this photo will take me back to a time when my wee girl was growing so fast, and I just had to capture those busy feet, at rest.
Or these fabulously glowing eyes -
Maybe these photos will become like the memory of the red balloons, and invoke the same vivid beauty in my mind's eye.
All this because of a pack of balloons.
I'm sure glad I thought of them, in that moment, when I was a little bit rushing, regretting not remembering to buy them earlier ..... for the scientist.
It's still there - that red balloon. In my mind's eye. With the pink and orange ice cream. And that lemon-aid stand, in the book.