If a tree falls in the forest and there is no one around to hear, does it make a sound?
I missed it! A moment I can't get back but will be forever reminded of by a photograph.
The story starts on a perfect little hike for the whole family at the Wild Land Conservancy located at the base of the San Bernardino mountains in Oak Glen. Not too rigorous but filled with adventure. Along the trail we found tall fir trees, fluffy cotton-tail bunnies, and a slightly murky pond with a floating dock. I was enjoying all the sights with my camera, focusing on my composition and exposure.
My Dad and I were left behind at the pond making photographs. When I caught up with my husband on the trail he said, "Did you hear the woodpeckers?" I responded, "No! Where?" He just shook his head. I had completely missed it! A tree filled with woodpeckers knocking away on a tree along the path. I was so wrapped up in thoughts that I completely missed something really cool right in front of me. An experience, that could not be captured in a photograph. An EXPERIENCE!
If many woodpeckers make a sound in the forest and a photographer is too wrapped up in her own thoughts, does it make a sound? NO! No it does not! At least, not one that I heard. Seriously...I didn't hear a thing! When I realized what I had missed we were too far along to go back.
But the lesson was not lost on me. Oh no! Stay present my friends. All we have is this present moment and there is so much richness right here. Photographs are wonderful. They are treasures and keepsakes. But they have their limitations. You can see your loved ones in a photograph, but you can't hear their voices or feel their tight embrace. You can see a beautiful flower, but you can't feel the warm sunlight on your skin or smell it's sweet fragrance. No, only the present moment offers the precious fullness that life has to offer.
Recently, a teenager passed away in our town. I didn't really know her or her family. When my oldest was a baby we were in the same swimming class with them, but that was a long time ago. As I view photographs posted online of this beautiful, vibrant young woman, I feel grateful that so many have these wonderful photographs to remember her. But, as a mom, I'm certain her family would give anything to have one more hug or to hear her laugh one more time. Those moments were only available in the present.
The present moment is fleeting but bountiful; rich and wise. Enjoy it. Don't miss the woodpeckers knocking in the present caught up in mindless chatter of the future.
One of the photographs in this blog post was featured as part of my ongoing, collaborative photography project called Life in Loud. Learn more about Life in Loud click the graphic below.