A Moving Postcard from 45

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I turned 45 this month. Over the past couple weeks, I’ve asked myself a crucial question several times: are you old enough to withstand seeing yourself as other people see you?

I admit that this question is a bit strange, but it is in my nature to wonder over such oddball notions. When I was a child, I wished and wished that I could shrink myself small enough to fit inside my toy shopping cart, just to see the world like my stuffed animals did as I walked them down the street in that cart. I imagined that I could have heard their soft banter had I been their size.

For all that we share selfies and short updates about daily life, are we any more efficient at conveying our selves to the world than we were before the internet existed as we now know it?

Think of the sense we gain of someone by watching that person enter a room or move down the street. When I look at the online profiles of my friends and family, I’ve hardly ever seen such footage, and I hadn’t thought to share such moments online until today.

This afternoon I remembered what the world was like when I became an adult in the early 90’s. The options in communicating over a distance with a kindred spirit were limited. Long distance telephone calls were pricey, so like many of my generation, I’d record mix tapes and write letters packed with inside jokes.

Back then, I could not have imagined what it would be like to have a real-time, multimedia communication device at my disposal. If smartphones had materialized back in the early 90’s, I’d have wanted to see ordinary moments of those who were and still are dear to me.

I remember being 19 years old and living 600 miles away from my mother. How delightful it would have been to watch a video of her lighting a cigarette in the morning and sipping her coffee.

Why is that we have this technology at our disposal but it is so seldom used in this way? Is movement reserved as that last shred of privacy in lives lived ever increasingly online?

I set up my tripod in my backyard after I returned home from work this afternoon. I wondered if I could stand to see myself walk across the yard. Believe it or not, if you haven’t seen a video of yourself walking before, the experience is just as jarring as hearing your recorded voice for the first time. Both experiences beg two questions: Is that really me? and How much do I like that person?

In seeing my video, I had to confront how I felt about myself. At first, I recoiled at the sight of it. Then I considered that my distaste was not a reflection of reality but of how I perceived myself. When I go about the business of daily living, people don’t react to me like I am a bloated absurdity come to life, and the odds are slim indeed that most people I encounter are wearing a poker face until I am out of sight.

I rewatched the video with the thought: imagine that you are watching somebody’s mother, daughter, wife, or best friend. Then I realized that I was doing just that. The people who are dearest to me don’t love me in spite of how I¬†look, sound, and move. They love me in part because of those things.

I share this because the same thing is true of you, dear reader. At this moment, there are people in your life who would love to see moments of your life today as you lived them. Will you let them see you, or will you wait until some perfect moment in the future, when your hair, clothes, and size have reached some mythical standard?

There is no reason to wait, for you are already perfect enough for those who love you.

Here is my video:

Car Show and First Vlog

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My various body parts that are in revolt were subdued during today’s odyssey that included a car show and making my very first video clip that features yours truly actually speaking:

This evening I discovered that creating video is a far more labor-intensive process than I anticipated. I applaud the folks who can produce cooking segments and action clips. I fear my computer would explode from the effort of editing such huge chunks of data.

Creating this clip was a comedy of technical errors. The first time I shot it, I spoke impeccably but forgot that I’d turned off the video sound on my camera. The second time, I noticed in reviewing the clip that the combo of backlighting and low angle conspired to make me look like a bloated version of Nigel Tufnel from Spinal Tap.

It’s not an easy thing to see yourself on video for the first time. All sorts of magic can be done with selfies to create an ideal image of yourself. I don’t think this is possible with video unless you are an editing whiz and have a tripod on stilts to shoot at a flattering angle.

Earlier in the day, my husband and I meandered about town and finished our journey with the Rebel Run Car Show at the Allen County Fairgrounds. There were over a hundred classic cars clear-coated and waxed to a shine that begs for sunglasses.

I wish I’d taken a picture of the man who had a bowl cut mullet. He mastered this tricky fusion of bygone hairstyles. He looked like the kind of guy who worked enough hours in high school to buy himself a Camaro before he graduated.

Magic of the Moment

This week I’ve been trying to build my video skills. Hearkening to the title of this blog, there’s been plenty of intensity without mastery along the way. My interest in video is to capture more of the magic of the sort of moments I’m drawn to photograph.

I love watching the flowers in my garden flutter in the breeze. Here’s a little YouTube clip of my fuschia basket holding its own against this blustery September day:


I am excited at the prospect of filming clips of the fall leaves. I need to find a way to steady my camera for a walk through my favorite forest trail while the sugar maples are ablaze.

A Wider View: Allen County Children’s Garden

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I’ve taken many photo walks through the Allen County Children’s Garden in Lima, Ohio, but I seldom take wide shots that reveal the density and whismy of this place. The photos in this post show only about a third of this place. Half of the rest was shrouded in morning shadow, and I lingered too long on the bright subjects I did capture that I walked away from the rest, full enough for now with its delights.

It’s one of those places I return to year after year because of the peace I feel when I’m there. If you find a place that fills you with serenity 90% of the time you go there, keep going back. The rest of the world can wait.

Here’s a video clip I made this morning of the ornamental grass area at this garden:

The Pond at Kendrick Woods

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Here’s another shot of the wildflowers nestled into the pond at Kendrick Woods. I wish I was savvy with video so I could convey more of the peacefulness of this place. I took a super short video of the pond with my phone that includes some of the birdsong I heard this morning: