If Only ...
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If Only ... • Posted: Jun 25, 2016 11:44:33Comments WelcomeVote CoolPhotoblogsPurchase a PrintShare

One of the magically endearing attributes of photographs is that they are static. They don’t change. They imply a before and after, yes. And they depict a specific time, setting, and subject. But more than anything else, they fix for us a fleeting moment within the context of vast numbers of variables along innumerable, sometimes imponderable dimensions. “The Decisive Moment” is what Cartier-Bresson called it. Not any random moment, but one that is pregnant with undeniable, unavoidable poignancy. Returning time and again to such a photograph renews for us over and over again a mysterious depth of thought and feeling we can touch, but never quite hang onto, or make real ever, ever again.

There is an image above. Four years on, it haunts me still. No promises, no claims. You look, then forget it if you will.

So many recent tragedies have rained down upon us within past weeks. We can barely hang on to their meaning before the next has overwhelmed us once again. We are exhausted, drained of compassion, empathy, outrage, and desire to redress the insult. What is this thing called life, anyway? And what exactly is humanity, goodness, and trust? No, it can’t be. It really can’t be just a cruel deceptive joke. Can it? Really, ... can it?

Male and female, we are both. The male within us greets the dawn and challenges the day. The female is exuberant, excited to share, contribute as she can in harvest. The male is nothing without her, hollow and empty. The female is ever ready to exploit his strength. Whole herself, but something less without him. Their need for one another is immense. Life sparkles from within, when each feels the other near.

But double the pair and then what happens? Competition is felt. The entirety of life and all the universe no longer clearly belongs. Someone else lays claim. And so the problems start.

By what calculus is one pair’s claim more righteous than the other’s? If each pair take half, will that forever satisfy? If one pair recruits a third, will the pair opposed back down into a hole and forever disappear?

Oh innocent babes upon the beach at dawn, what terrible terrible thoughts await you round the bend. And what will become of all the rest of us, forever at a loss for how to divvy the whole of life and all the universe around?

If only, if only the separate pairs among us could but merge back into one need entangled complementary pair. Perhaps the day to come would once again seem truly new, and heavily heavily pregnant with bounty enough for all.

Saturday, June 30th, 2012