The Pressure’s On

The pressure’s on. As Valerie and I sat together waiting for the meeting to begin Sunday, she leaned toward me and said, “I enjoy looking at your “Pic of the Day.”

“Aw, you’re so sweet,” I told her. And she is sweet. Charming too. And funny and lovable.

She continued, “I’ve started taking some pictures too. And so has Elodie. I got a camera for her, and now we both look for pictures to take every day.”

Elodie is in elementary school and is 6 or 7 years old.  I was stunned and surprised and pleased all at the same time. It’s one thing for an adult to begin noticing favorite sights to snap pictures of, but it’s quite another for a young child to follow suit.  I found the thought of mother and daughter looking for scenes to snap heartwarming, especially since they had been influenced by me.

Encouraged by Valerie’s news, I prattled on. “It’s amazing how much more attention I pay to my environment when I know I’m going to post something each night. Even if no one pays attention to the photographs, they mean something to me.”

“Oh, we love them,” Valerie assured me.

By the way, I can’t do justice to her wonderful accent. Having been raised on an island near France, Valerie’s speech is enviable and makes everything she says twice as delightful. We all want to talk the way Valerie does, melodic and pleasing.

The music started, and our meeting began. Three days later I’m remembering our conversation and thinking of how marvelous it is that we have the technology to take pictures instantly. As long as our smart phones are charged, we can snap as many photographs as we want to and instantly delete the ones that are “not-so-hot.” Some have too much light, others are taken from a funny angle, and still others don’t do the subject justice.

But I think what I like best is that pictures, just like words, can be used to chronicle the events of our lives. I’ve kept a journal for the past 20 years, and while I plan to continue that, it’s even better to have an additional means of recording history, mine and yours and theirs. Plus, taking pictures forces me to be more mindful. Without a handy camera and a desire to look more closely at this wonderful world, I would have missed many breathtaking sights. Well, okay, all aren’t breathtaking, but all of my pictures tell some sort of story.

I’ve yet to snap one single picture today, but I’ll remedy that when I go on a walk soon. I hope Valerie and Elodie found something worth capturing and that my “Pic of the Day” will please them.
 

Pic of the Day

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A couple of people have asked me why I post a “Pic of the Day” on Facebook every evening. Although they’ve been too kind to add, “especially since most of them aren’t really that spectacular,” I feel like they’re wondering about it. The reason for the daily photograph is simple. I’m more mindful of life when I know that I’ll be recording the one photograph that best demonstrates something memorable about that day.

About 15 years ago, a friend and I started gratitude journals. That’s right. We jumped on the gratitude bandwagon with thousands of other women after reading Sarah Ban Breathnach’s Simple Abundance. Soon we found ourselves looking forward to the time of day when we sat down and recorded at least five things about that day for which we were thankful.

Back in the day June and I wrote our lists in the old-fashioned pen and paper method, but lately I’ve been recording the gratitude list in an app on my iPad. The app is especially fun to use because it gives the writer the opportunity to add up to three photographs a day. Knowing that I’m going to add some pictures to accompany the day’s experiences has made me even more mindful of the goings-on around me.

There is beauty all around, even in the mundane, and it’s chancy to leave it up to my mind to remember it all.  For instance, one afternoon after jury duty last week, I walked over to the big second story window to check out the weather before leaving the courthouse. The picture above is the one I snapped. It was still raining. The slick, wet sidewalks, the hunkered over forms of my fellow jurors as they hustled to their cars, and the steady drizzle from the gray sky all let me know that I needed my umbrella. I pulled out my iPhone and took the picture.

The shot didn’t make it my Pic of the Day, but I did post it in my electronic gratitude journal that night. There are days that I’m too tired to record words at night, so I’ll post some pictures as memory prompts for the next day. Those pictures work amazingly well in helping me to remember events, experiences, people, and thoughts of my days. I’m in agreement with Anais Nin who said (paraphrase) that keeping a journal helps one to live life twice.

Do you know what you were doing on Tuesday, January 14 2014? I do, and it’s because of my journal and its pictures. Have you already begun taking pictures of the scenes around you? Would you consider sharing them with us?