The Everyday Adventure: An Ode.

For years as a teenager, a hammock hung between two sides of an arbor in my backyard. A wisteria plant slowly grew and intertwined into the side until it finally covered the top and cascaded down the other side. I remember when I could lay in the hammock and see through to the stars. But it's provided full shade for the last several years.

I've always thought there was something beautiful about nature colliding with man-made things.

I laid in the hammock in high school, when I was feeling sad or wishful. I’d dream about what life might hold. I retreat there in college and enjoy the summer nights. I’d go there to pray when I was feeling anxious. I’ve laid there with friends and Chris and cousins.

My parents are doing a big remodel in their backyard and have been toying with the idea of taking the arbor out. The vines have grown a little unruly, but I love of it because it reminds me of The Secret Garden. So I always objected, but eventually lost that fight.

The day it was coming out I had Chris take a photo of me by it. One that was super joyful and one that showed me sad to see it go.

I asked him for the photo the other day and when he went to look for it, it was gone, lost in the transition of getting a new phone.

I didn't expect it but my stomach felt sick and my eyes began to tear up.

I didn't fully realize how important that moment was to me, what all that photo signified, represented. 

I know it sounds silly and even I thought I was being crazy. To be sad about something so trivial.

That space contained memories and conversations, prayers and promises. It was haven of sorts. Not all the time, but in the moments that mattered.

And I wanted a photo to hold all of those things together, something that reminded me, not so much of the specific of the structure, but of all the people I had been under it’s vines. To remind me to love the things I l love and to be attached to things if they move me. To remind me that it’s okay to be a romantic and nostalgic, even if people don’t get it.

When that photo was gone, as crazy as it sounds, I was actually sad.

It reminded me of the power of photographs.

We rely so much on our devices, and I love that they’ve enabled us to capture more of our lives by putting a camera in our pocket.

But I don’t want those memories to live inside my phone. I've always been one of those girls with boxes of mementos and photos and letters. All from different periods of life. I've loved pulling them out over the years and revisiting old memories, shuffling through piles of photos.

My project for the next few days? Scroll through my 10,000+ iPhone images and ask myself: Which photos would I be devastated by losing? Which photos bring me joy? Which ones remind me of who I am? Who I want to be? The love in my life?

In 5, 10, or 20 years, when I pull that box down from the shelf to sift through the highlights of this season, which moments do I want to pull out? Which photos do I want to hold?

I hope you ask the same questions.

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Here are a few of my favorite places to print photos: