Often, time feels like its falling through the hourglass faster than it should. We are in Senior season at LifeTouch. A steady stream of the class of 2018 are rolling in the door, full of their future dreams and young energy. There holds for them a kind of promise of all things possible and for a while, we are given the gift of capturing that in a photograph. In those moments, the hourglass stops. Everything stands still and as my shutter clicks, I soak in all that energy and promise. I’ve enjoyed all the conversations with their families, so reminiscent of when I was looking at those proofs of my son, almost in tears.
Very little has changed since I had my Senior photos taken over 30 years ago, and it stirs in me my own still frames. I can still clearly remember the shock on my face as they held up that scrap of velvet fabric and I had to bear my shoulders so they could wrap me in it. I felt so awkward and yet, when the proofs arrived, it was one of the rare times in my young life that I was enamered with my own image.
I need to have these moments right now. I need to visit those moments that sit at the bottom of the hourglass. In the last month, I have stood witness to Fruit leaving us before his 54th birthday. A friend of Gary’s suddenly lost her husband who was only in his early 40s. On Mothers Day, a friend was in a hit and run accident. She was posting on Facebook about how angry she was. How her back was sore but otherwise, she was ok. She grumbled in the early hours of the next day about her struggle to get comfortable so she could get some sleep. On Monday morning, she died. Just like that. Her hourglass had run out. She was 5 months younger than me. That same rage that I felt for Fruit welled up again.
So it seems fitting that on the heels of Seniors, I step into wedding season. Weddings are, by far, my favorite subject to photograph. I’m covering three of them this June. One for each departed soul who carried out their vows of “till death do you part”. It feels like a reset button for me. As if capturing all the joy and love of those moments can ease this anger I feel for those other three. But even then, there are freeze frame images of my own wedding to Keith. The knowledge that his hourglass ran out over 5 years ago and I still find myself wanting to flip it and start it over again. That sensation of working late nights and climbing into bed next to Gary, who long ago had fallen asleep, and pressing my hand against him to feel the warmth as I listen to him breath. Finding myself praying that there will be endless moments for us to share and knowing that there are no guarantees of it happening.
And yet, there is still that young girl graduating, moving on to college and marriage and motherhood, who will always believe in the impossible. That still carries with her the energy and dreams and promises of her future. Her hourglass filled with millions and billions of stars. Each one falling with its own color and light. Some so brilliant they burn out as they fall. Others softly glowing and almost floating as they fall. Mixed in with them are those occasional dark dense stars that weight on my soul. We all have them, I guess. But when I look at the cacophony of everything as it falls, it is so breathtakingly beautiful. A sign of a well lived life, full of love. They are still falling and for that, I relish what I have now. No matter what it is.