Words and Photos

Continuing to write a longer account of my recent journey into Idaho in my truck camper with my sister. After six daily sessions of writing and evenings sorting through a thousand photographs I am still not close to completion. But the steam has steadily been building and so perhaps within a week I will be able to let go of the piece and move on to something new. I notice that the further in time that I get away from the events, the more they become colored with my personal opinions and persuasions.

To recall the details of each day of travel is, of course, becoming more difficult, except that I sat down on the last evening of my trip and made tape recordings that I might later use for more accurate recollection. As I wait and find myself digging deeper and struggling to remember more clearly, I also find myself adding thoughts that are arising now and didn’t exist within my mind when I was actually out on the road. This phenomenon makes me curious as to how much of my personal history has been unknowingly persuaded by my unconscious self. Perhaps the real me of my earlier years was quite different than I now imagine him to be.

Keeping a journal through the years is, then, probably a better picture of my life than giving an autobiographical or reminiscent account of it near the end. It is much easier to compose and paint broadly than to draw in the finer details of a scene.

Somewhere in time and space one of my regular readers, Rhubarb, passed onward to a new and unseen dimension of living. God bless. In one of her last journal entries she spoke of how she looked for an organizational scheme to all her years of keeping a journal. I read most of her entries over the last year or two, and found them both interesting and revealing enough about who she was as a person that I didn’t feel like I needed much further organization to her writing. But her concern for reworking her work now makes me think about my own journal entries. Whatever I might have tried to convey in each of them was somewhat fresh and spontaneous, so to rework them into something greater might also remove some of the life force from them.

It’s amazing how our words can display the essence of our life while photographs only show two dimensions. Words interest the mind while images interest the eye. When I saw a photograph of Rhubarb, I don’t feel like I knew her much better. She actually looked quite a bit different than what I imagined. Words and images work nicely together, however, so with this longer journal entry that is still baking, I’m attempting to combine the two, such that the two complement each other. The photographs capture the moment, while words spring from memory, together providing living moments in place and time, along with a retrospective summary of the entire trip.

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