I was up at silly o’clock this morning to give my son a lift to work as all the train times are messed around in the holidays. It was about -6°C so everything was covered in a thick layer of frost. The sun had not yet risen but there was an orange glow on the eastern horizon. The world looked magical: the fields, the trees, the towers of Arundel Castle and Cathedral rising through the mist, the gentle reflection of the light in the river Arun. I observed to my son it was a shame that I had not brought my camera with me.
On the way home I thought ‘Does it really matter?’ I remember the days of film when we only had 24 or 36 shots and we had to pay for every one to be developed whether it came out or not. We thought carefully about of what we wanted to take pictures. These days with digital we can take as many as we want, memory card permitting, and then delete the ones that are not in focus or that we do not like. And what are we missing if we are always observing the world through the lens of a camera? Trying to preserve each moment for ever we are not being fully present at that time. How about we just appreciate the beauty in each minute instead, knowing that nothing will ever be exactly the same again?
Earlier this year I took part in a flash mob in celebration of the first gay marriage in Brighton. After we had finished singing as we were dispersing I heard a couple of people say, ‘What a shame we will never sing together again.’ No! You have missed the point. The beauty was the fact that that particular group of people would only sing a song together once. It was a precious moment. Of course it has been preserved on youtube though!
We spend most of our lives in the past or the future. Leave your camera at home today and appreciate each moment as it comes and goes. I promise it will be a much richer experience.
P.S. I took the photo above from my living room window after I returned home.