Thursday, June 6, 2013

A Picture's Worth a Thousand Words?

Last night convinced me otherwise.

We walked down to the creek after sunset last night.  It was a challenging walk for me this time.  There wasn't much moonlight, and the road is in really bad condition due to the poor management of it by the roads department.  Also I was a bit under the weather with a bit of a cold, and was feeling a mite disoriented.  I regained my stability when we got to the flat and were soon by the creekside. As I thought about how much I wished I could get a picture of the scene to share with you all, a new thought came to my mind.

What I was experiencing could not come close to being shared with a mere photograph.

The woods were black, but not pure black, a greenish tinged blackness.  The water was reflecting the low level of blue grey light the sky was still putting forth.  There were a few wisps of fog drifting in on the light breeze and all was quiet.  Or was it?

First came the trickling of water over the myriad stones in the creek bed, followed by the final chirpings of birds settling in for the night, then finally and enduringly the steady trill of the spring peepers. 

As I settled into my crazy creek chair, I looked up at the emerging stars and saw a small speck shoot across the sky.  The warmth of my husband's hand on mine was comforting and listening to my sons talk about their latest thoughts and dreams made my heart swell with pride.

How can all of that, or indeed any of that be captured in a mere photograph?  I will admit that there are photographers who can communicate a great deal more feeling on film than I can, but even their photos fail when it comes to the deeper sensations of simply "being here now". 

This is not a swearing off of photography for myself, nor is it a criticism of my fellow bloggers for the heavy use of photography to share our days with others.  We all have so much on our plates, that to provide deep literary descriptions of our total surroundings for every post would rapidly drive us away from sharing anything at all.  It is rather a realization that, in thinking about sustainability we must not forget that language sustains us both as individuals and communities.  In turn, we must sustain language not only as a form of base communication, but also as an art form that can speak so much more deeply into our situations than a mere photograph ever could.


  1. Great post, my friend. I hope you are back to feeling more like yourself, soon.

    1. I'm already much better, thanks so much.

  2. Beautiful! so true Barb. Be well.