At Wild Wood NJ ....
.... when I was closer to the age of the little boy, I
clicked the shutter of my new 35mm camera at this ride, before getting in
myself. The sights and sounds and smells of the endless carnival have dispersed
and have become vague to me over the years, along with the people I met there,
but the image remains fresh as though I was there last weekend. But at times I
wished I had never gone to the beach, never shot the picture, never gotten on
the ride, and never gave the old man my ticket. As if it would help, I've still gotten old. Now I'm closer to the age of the old man.
As I've aged, the print has aged with me. The details in the high lite areas have faded and the dreaded brown cast, called sepia, same color as age spots or liver spots, no less, is starting to show around the edges; for the same reason. (; But in my memory, in the gallery of my mind, the print has remained young and fresh. It's taken on vivid colors now. And instead of being a one dimensional still photograph, it has become cinematic. Along with that, I've begun to see 'things' more from the old man's perspective.
The young boy in the picture ....
.... for instance, as he seems to portray to me, as no doubt I did when I was his age - hurrying along in his 'having fun' mode, joyously lost in the excitement of his childhood. Like a puppy constantly seeking out new things and, in the mean time, putting together his own pieces to the puzzle of life. Finding his way. And of course, finding out, in later years, as I did, that he should have had much less of this carnival 'unbridled fun' growing up. It would have been 'funner' in the long run; in retrospects.
I know, I didn't bother with this old man, he only remains on this picture for me. I scarcely remember him in the view finder, until I printed it. Who he was and what his story of life is - was not important to me. I'm surprised I took the picture at all. Most of my photos that day were mainly of the rides and typical beach shots, hardly any people. I don't even remember handing my ticket to him before I entered the ride, and I should have. Logically I should have; he's taken the ride before, probably owned the thing and puts it together piece by piece every morning. He's been through it; no doubt he could do it blind folded. He could have given me some pointers, things to watch out for before I step into the ride, if I only asked. That's it; if I only asked.
Ah, the age of taking everything for granted!
I know it well. I try not to do it now and this picture sure helps. But what really changed me was the death, the first death in my immediate family, of my grandmother. I was overtaken by tear dropping, lips quivering grief sure, but what really grabbed me was the onslaught of things I had wanted to ask her. Places we haven't gone together, and more time to buy more things for her, instead of the other way around. The saying, "you don't know what you got until you loose it," hit me square between the eyes, and I haven't recovered.
All my grandparents are dead now, but the elders that are still alive in my family are now probably so tired of all my questions about life, that they seem to avoid me a little bit at our reunions when they come around. And I wouldn't miss them for the world. I feel they are so chuck-full of vital information to live by. Whether it's mostly advise or seeing them and noting the things I don't want to do, or the amount I don't want to eat; I care not. And what I don't miss at all, and it's hard for me to hold back, is when I see a member of the younger generation appear lost as to what to do, where to go, what not to do, or whatever. And I don't really care whether I offend anybody with my advise. Because nothing pleases me more than to help them through our "Glass Maze."
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