Monday, July 12, 2010
Ben was reading a book about Amish culture the other day, and he told me that one of the children pictured had never seen a picture of himself before. Ben and I were discussing why old order Amish discourage picture taking in their communities. One of the main reasons for shunning photography, so to speak, is because of pride. The book mentioned that the Amish felt it was vain to have pictures taken.
Looking at some of the pictures on Face book and other places around the web may certainly confirm that theory! However,there is such a deep level of memories portrayed in a single photo. Details are captured that certainly would have faded away over the years. I posted a few random photos to make my point.
In the first picture, I see a sweet moment captured of two loving sisters. Knowing my girls, I am also struck with the memory of Anna wearing a bathing suit 24/7! She usually always is dressed in a bathing suit. Would I have remembered that without a picture? And are these little details important? Yes, they are. The little details are what give life to our memories. They are the salt and pepper that flavor and enhance bygone moments.
On the next picture, of Sam holding the book, I chuckle at all the little nuances captured in the picture. First of all, Sam was wearing gloves, because he didn't want to touch the fish Ben caught. Second of all, he is wearing his super hero PJ's (at least the top!) that he picked out when he could have had any outfit in Target. I am reminded how we bought the PJs in Richmond when Oliver was in the hospital. The kind woman at the Ronald McDonald house was picking us up from Target and taking us to the hospital. By the time we arrived at the hospital, Sam had changed into these PJs in the back seat of the car! Never mind that it was forty degrees out, and he wore the matching shorts in the set...not the pants!
I am also reminded in Sam's picture of our reading times together. Sam has chosen on his own to use the McGuffey readers to learn how to read. On this particular day, I was busy doing something, and Sam was hunting me down, armed with his "reader," saying, "Mommy, now will you please read with me...."
In the background of the picture I see Roy sleeping under the van- one of his favorite spots. And I love Sam's expression. Will I remember his awkward, toothy smile after he has braces in a few years?
And then there's the picture of Tommy. No matter how much we remember of an event or a person, a facial expression captured on camera truly stirs the heart. I look at Tommy and can feel his joy and enthusiasm as if I am right there in that moment.
Lastly, I am with Mary Margaret at one of our favorite spots: the Pioneer Village on Skyline drive. How many times have I glorified this humble little dwelling in my mind? As much as I know that I wouldn't have wanted to be a pioneer woman, I long for the "simplicity" of earlier times.
So, Yes. As much as I admire the Amish and their ways of living, I must respectfully disagree about picture taking. I am so thankful we have this amazing way of putting the life back into our memories.
joyfully yours, Eileen Smithdeal at 2:03 AM