Thursday, December 04, 2014
I have quite a collection of pictures (scanned from prints and originally digital) on my computer and various backup drives. I have several computers on my desk (don't ask) and when they are on they frequently go into screen saver mode and I have them flashing up pictures from a few collections.
When I look at old pictures I can't help but think about how much time has passed and how many people have passed with time. If I see the picture above I immediately think: they are all gone except that baby and teenager. The baby is now my almost 71-year-old sister. The teenager is my Aunt Cappy, featured yesterday. Only my granddad didn't survive to be in my life. But my grandmother, Dad, Mom and the other four sisters are gone now, too.
So much happened to these people. Eight more children would be born amongst three of the women in this picture. They would work and struggle and laugh and cry. (The Ball family, in fact, has a tendency to laugh until they cry.) The children would grow, the people in this picture would grow old, the children would have children and those children would have children. A couple of children would die before their parents.
This tendency of mine to look at who has been lost in pictures as they flash by doesn't feel morbid. It feels like celebrating lives lived and the struggle inherent in life. Let's see...there's a picture of my friend Al on the beach at Normandy, my mother with a snowman, two of our dogs (they are gone, too), my mom with us on the Capitol steps when we are children, my Aunts Mary and Dottie at my sister's wedding in 1965. And there's my friend Charles giving me a hug, So recognizable in these pictures on my screens but no longer in the world. Does this make me sad? No just nostalgic and maybe accepting that one is just a pawn in a long sputtering line of humanity trying hard to stop time but failing. Always eventually succumbing.