(And as a disclaimer, most of you are used to more upbeat posts from me. This one isn’t. So if you’re having a bad day, this won’t make it better. The next blog post will be the usual happy, perky, lighthearted entry.)
Except we don’t know what tomorrow will bring. I think with the death of Steve Jobs this week, a lot of people are thinking about contributions, making a difference, and…death. We all will die. Even Steve knew that. The news keeps playing a recent commencement speech he gave where he briefly alludes to his own dealings with cancer and life, and mortality. Few people have made as large an impact on the world and how we view it, hear it, interact with it, and talk about it, as Steve Jobs.
And as if one death this week wasn’t enough, the father of a friend of mine died this week, too. But this death wasn’t broadcast on CNN. It’s gotta be just devastating for my friend, pregnant with her first child. A grandchild who will never know his grandfather, at least not personally. Her dad was only about ten years older than me. So he wasn’t “of a certain age” where death feels more “normal”. (As if it ever does feel normal, but we tell ourselves that to try to feel better.) I had only met him a handful of times. He loved Macs. Even knew how to fix them. So he was good in my book. 🙂 But my friend, who is only in her mid-20s, doesn’t have a father anymore. Her son will never know what he lost. But she does. She knows the future memories she has lost. That makes me very sad for her.
So what do these two very different men leave behind for us to remember them? Images. Photographs. Videos. Pieces of paper, celluloid, and electronic data. Hollow reminders of who they were when compared to the living version of them. Yet attached to those hollow reminders are stories. Wonderful, rich stories of who they were. Funny things they did. Silly things they said. The images provide one piece to the puzzle that made up their lives. Images that won’t allow their faces to fade from memory over time.
If you have read my “About” page, you have seen this poem there. Several years ago I needed to draft an artist statement, and that About page is basically the end result of that process. I photograph because nothing gold can stay. But what a wonderful, golden memory that photograph becomes!
Nature’s first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf’s a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.
~Nothing Gold Can Stay, Robert Frost