I stood in the driveway in my pajamas, the asphalt leeching warmth from the soles of my bare feet. The light that had cast a strange orange glow against my living room blinds exploded across the sky. Airplane contrails criss-crossed each other, reflecting pinks and oranges in thin pen lines and wide brush strokes against the sky. A palatte of warm colors lit up the eastern sky and the clouds that drifted behind houses and bare trees.
Part of me wanted to dash inside for my phone, to try to capture the brilliance on camera. But I stood, silent, waiting, watching. Goosebumps rose on my bare arms as I tried, vainly, to imprint the colors in my mind.
The dog barked not long after, and I let her back into the house and went on with my morning. By the time Erin and I were ready to walk out the front door half an hour later, the sun was up, the contrails had faded, and the sky was its normal blue. The world was pretty, but there were no indications of the spectacular light show I had witnessed while I was out earlier.
I take a lot of pictures, but the more pictures I take the more I realize how imperfect photographs are. We try to capture movement, color, life, by freezing a moment. There is technical skill involved, to be sure, but so much of photography is hope — hope that what you see is actually what you get. I want a good picture — I want to remember the moment — I want to catch the light — I want the emotion to sparkle from the image — but I also want to remember more than taking pictures. I try to strike a balance particularly between taking pictures of Erin and just enjoying her. I know that I already appreciate my tendency towards shutterbugitis throughout her life to this point, but I also know that she is an active little girl who may not stop what she’s doing so Mama can take a picture. I might miss a moment. I might miss a moment photographically because I was busy enjoying it actually. And that’s all right.
It’s why I stopped on Friday morning and just breathed in color.