I had a beautiful experience yesterday afternoon. It was a lovely fall day. As I sat down at our dining room table with some of Mark's childhood photo albums, the sun's gentle rays shown through the window behind me and over my shoulder, casting light and shadows on the pictures and table in front of me. Outside, I could hear the junior high kids walking home from school past our place, laughing and talking
I suddenly realized I was fully in this beautiful moment. That moment was all there was. How comfortable, cozy and lovely it felt. From somewhere in the depths of my memory came an image and a feeling of working a jigsaw puzzle on a card table set up by the living room window on a snowy Saturday afternoon, or of laying on the couch in front of the fireplace after having played in the snow for hours. It was that same feeling of contentment, experienced more frequently as a child but elusive once one becomes an adult.
Then, as I was looking at the pictures of Mark, something else came. As I focused on various ones, I noticed more things in the pictures and - surprisingly - a feeling came that I was somehow there. A witness, yet not a witness. Present, but not present.
It was a strange yet wonderful feeling. Mark and I have always felt, since the moment we met, that we have - in an undefinable way - known each other all our lives. I don't want to overthink this, but as I looked at those pictures, I thought about how coming out later in life and meeting the love of one's life somehow imbues the images of childhood with special meaning. "Each photograph," I wrote in my journal, "makes me love Mark all the more."
That's when I decided to get out my new camera and take it's very first pictures. How appropriate they were images of Mark. Looking through the lens presented new insights as I noticed details that I might not have otherwise seen. The patches on Mark's jeans with the plaid cuffs, for example. I think every kid in our generation wore jeans with those big huge patches on the knees and didn't think a thing of it.
Mark holding a string. The Japanese girl with a camera hanging from her neck. Mark's sister Deb playing with the dog. But most of all, that shy look on Mark's face; or, as in the one above, that faraway look that evidences a sensitive soul.
|Deb and Mark older, playful. Notice the Japanese sandals.|
There is more I could write ... When I look at these photographs, I don't so much see a cute kid in Japan in the Eisenhower and Kennedy years. What I see is a beautiful child who grew into the man I love.