Monday, September 12, 2005

A look back…

Today, I did something a little different (for me), I looked through the ‘tub’ of pictures Maryan and I have accumulated since we’ve been together. You know those ‘Rubbermaid’ tubs, the ones about 30 inches long, 18 inches wide and about as tall?

Well we have one of those tubs that and it’s just full of pictures. I’d forgotten we’d taken many of them, but each one took me back to that exact moment in time, and brought back the smiles and laughter we’ve shared over the past six years.

I started going though it to look for some pictures to scan to go with some posts I’ve been working on. But, like many things with me, the original goal got lost somewhere between our first Thanksgiving here, and the first snowfall. After that I was on a three or four hour trip through time.

I got reminded of how our place looked then, how it looks now, and the transition it’s been getting to “here”.

Also, I saw dozens of pictures of Maryan, her eyes bright, they used to actually ‘sparkle’ when the light hit them, I kid you not. It was one of the very first things I noticed about her when we met. They don’t sparkle as much these days. It’s not her fault, and I’m sure they’ll sparkle all the time again soon, but her struggles with back pain have really taken their toll on her.

I see glimmers of that sparkle all the time, and her smile is the same, when the pain is absent. Fortunately, since the surgery it’s gone for longer periods of time now, but it always seems to return, just as she’s beginning to ‘believe’ it could be gone for good.

I don’t know how she keeps from letting this drag her into a ‘funk’, but she hasn’t, today she wanted to go to the small local ‘market’ where we bought some fall Mum’s for the front steps. It’s a September tradition with us that got started when I surprised her with 5 or six plants while we were in the middle of our renovations here that first year.

Every year after that, she’s made a point of us going somewhere to get another group of plants. Then, after they’ve finished blooming, we go out, and plant them in one of the flower beds. Not all of them survive, but usually one or two do, for another season or two.

I saw pictures of our ‘landscape’ project that first fall, those plants looked so small and frail in the pictures, today, they’ve grown and are badly in need of a trim as I write this.

Our relationship has grown too. We’ve seen, and been through a lot the past six years. There were three surgeries for her, and two for me, a bundle of struggles with her kids, and family problems on my side as well. Between her surgeries and mine, we’ve not had time, health or money for one of our favorite pastimes, motorcycling. For both of us it’s an escape from the day to day and each of our trips was an adventure in and of itself.

I’ve discovered something along the way though. She is definitely a person I can just hang out with. We can be in the same room, yet not feel the need to be in constant conversation. Yet, when the mood strikes us, we can talk for hours and hours, about nothing in particular. We’re our own ‘best entertainment’. Not to mention she'll listen to my 'stories' no matter how many times I've told them before.

I nearly got lost in the pictures of our trip to the Rockies. Each of those pictures, while beautiful, didn’t come close to capturing the beauty of that place, or the great time she and I had ‘just exploring’ the area. We got so caught up in enjoying the scenery and discovering more places to be, we kept heading south, and before we knew it we’d ridden all the way to Taos, New Mexico.

That hadn’t been in our plan, we actually had to stop, buy a couple of maps and plot a route home it was so far off our original plan. But, if that hadn’t happened, we would have missed the sudden, and incredibly intense, summer storm in Guymon, Oklahoma where we ‘weathered’ the storm in a picnic shelter. The deer darting across the road in the fog about ten miles east of Taos, or any of a dozen other experiences we had on the ride home.

I found all the pictures from our wedding and subsequent bike trip. Maryan had them all organized, in photo pages, with a little story for each page and picture. Finding that, actually brought a tear to my eye, that she’d done that, and, when I went to tell her how nice it was, she’d actually forgotten she’d done it! I’m going to have to pick up a binder for those pages; they do not belong in that ‘tub’!!

I’m going to save further details, and the rest of the pictures for future posts. But, I want to leave you with this thought.

We often don’t know, at the moment, which moments are going to end up being the most treasured. (My thanks to Mitch’s wife Debbie for making that statement when we were up there visiting).

I have a ton of photo memories, but I have 1000 times that in mental memories that no ‘picture’ exists. If you haven’t already, buy an inexpensive digital camera, and take pictures!! I’m going to look into having all of these converted to digital images so I’ll have them and can store them somewhere they’ll never get lost, stolen or destroyed.

One other thing, I’m going to find a digital camera that will take a ‘panoramic’ mode picture. The one I currently have is great, but it’s missing that feature. If you like taking pictures of mountains, great vistas, etc… you’ll miss this if you’ve ever had it.

While Maryan’s recovery from her recent back surgery is foremost in both her, and my, mind at the moment, we couldn’t help thinking today, that despite the problems of the past six years, we’ve been truly blessed in having each other, and the wonderful adventures we’ve had.


Whit said...

I love pictures. Love them.

I think pictures aren't special because of what they present, but because of what they represent. It doesn't stop at the image in the 3x5's the imagery that they conjure up in our brain and more importantly in our hearts.

We have a digital camera, and I did the most fun thing last year at Christmas. We took HUNDREDS of pictures during a visit to my inlaws and I took all of those and sorted them and then picked fun music as a backdrop and burned a DVD for our family. It was great because they could watch the whole thing or just one section at a time.

Cylithria™ said...

Well written and no truer words Bill! I can't wait to see some of the pictures (hint hint)

Nina said...

Love grows deeper with memories, and life is nothing but memories.
Great post!

Bill said...

Whit - I'm with you! I've been taking photos for decades, lot's of them. Unfortunately I lost a lot of them in the divorce... but, that's ok, I'm making up for it now!

As for the digital thing... the first thing I did was buy a 1Gb SD card so I could take 700+ pictures at full resolution before I'd have to DL them!!

I'm trying to get my Mom to dig out a bunch of the old family photos and let me scan them and do something like you did.

Cyli - Thanks, I'll be scanning and sorting pics as time allows and I promise I'll be adding a bunch to the online galleries as I can.

Nanina - Thanks, my wife once said to me:

"It's not how you handle good times that matters, anyone can do that, it's what you do with the bad times that counts."

I believe that's very true. The more stuff we can tuck away and look back on when things seem tough, the easier it is to believe you'll get through this too!

Trevor Record said...

I don't take anywhere near enough pictures, but then I reckon I don't have anyone good to have them taken with. Maybe I should take more with my family.

Bill said...

Trevor, Take pics of places... Your new condo... things you do.. and people when you can... Trust me on this, 10 years from now you'll have a lot of fun looking back!!

Thanks for stopping by!

Firehawk said...


Funny how you can get totally wrapped up in some artifact from the past. It could be a picture, an old cassette tape...anything. I find that it's always hardest to organize the spaces you use to keep all these keepsakes. You end up sitting in the dust and thinking about some moment, years before, that you hadn't thought of in a long time. It's like Christmas, uncovering all these thoughts you'd let slide.

Bill said...

Firehawk - Exactly!!

It is a bit like Christmas, especially when you have to open the 'packet' to see what's inside!!

I'm glad I'm not the only one who can get lost in my memories!

Comfort Addict said...

I'm so happy that you have those pictures to stir those memories. Mrs. CA and I don't have a lot (I don't take photos and she takes photos of our garden). I hope that Maryan recovers quickly and that both of you can hit the bike soon.

Bill said...

CA - I'm telling you, spend $100, but an inexpensive digital camera... you'll never go back to film! Plus, you'll find you're taking pics of everything!

It's funny, Maryan and I have taken more pictures, in any one year, than I did in my entire first marriage. I don't know *why* exactly, but I do know the digital camera has already paid for itself!