Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Guest Post by Donna VanderGriend

Our good friend and published authoress, Donna VanderGriend, is honoring us with 6 weeks of guest posts for our Wednesday posts.   Here is "Four Generations on Capturing the Moment, Part Two."  

2.  Capturing Sunsets
At some point as we grow older we throw up our hands at the impossibility of capturing every milestone and every sunset.  The world could not contain all the photo albums: for daily sunsets melting into oceans, sunsets disappearing behind mountains, sunsets nestling into waving fields of grain, sunsets at the edge of every continent.  And then there are the endless categories beyond sunsets.  Try this experiment:  pull three random pictures from the photo-filled shoe boxes you’ve collected over the years.  Perhaps one is of a Dutch village taken from a moving train, another of a son in graduate’s garb, a third of a nondescript boulder in the middle of what appears to be nowhere.  The only unifying title for your album would be "Miscellaneous Memories," which isn’t exactly what you had in mind when you decided to “organize your photos.”  As for writing captions to capture the moments…well, you can’t remember the name of the Dutch Village or the year your son graduated.  And why and where did you take that picture of a big rock?

We look at our memorabilia mountains ranging over decades and go into challenge-angst over whether we should push through it all, organize it, digitize it, or pitch it.  And we ask the big questions:  What responsibility do we have for leaving a legacy?  Do succeeding generations really learn from the past?  Will anyone have the time or inclination to go through this stuff when I die?  Do I even want them to?  How many storage units would four or five generations have to rent in order to save it all?

A friend tells me she has been going through her files recently.  At long last she was able to take a final look at dozen-year-old divorce papers, false accusations, murky memories…then shred the entire business in a vote for grace.

Maybe there’s an Aesop’s fable moral here:  Capture the golden sunsets; free the maiming memories.

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