Saturday, June 17, 2006


STILL LIFE


In a photo I just noticed again on the wall and took down to dust off and study with older eyes - a snapshot sent me years ago by my first wife, who was then cleaning out her past - beneath a clear blue sky I stand long-haired, headbanded with the US flag on a Fire Island beach back in the late 1960s, full-bearded, wearing my mirror shades that did wonders when we canoed the Adirondack lakes of all those summers...

It is morning in the photo - sun behind me as I gaze inland - sky looks like early autumn, probably not long before we newlyweds both resigned our post-college professional jobs and took off in our blue-and-white VW bus-cum-road-residence for what looked like forever, to find what awaited us in the greater world...

In the photo I'm not much more than a silhouette, but my hair is still dark and thick, glowing with the wildfires of youth... Far in the bright distance are two tiny figures of the only other people on that long curving beach, who came there that day as we did (maybe that was even the very weekend she and I went to our bank on the Island and got a letter affirming that we had 3500 dollars in our account, to demonstrate our solvency to world immigration authorities). We went from that day through years and countries all around the world - separated soon after our return - divorced not long after that. Years ago now, how their number grows, on the other side from here...

The small far-away couple stands close together, maybe a mile from where my wife was photographing me in loving close-up; the shorter of the pair appears to be throwing something into the ocean as the taller one stands straight and watches... They are tiny blurs, as we were to them, as then is to now...

I wonder who they were, and who we were, what they tried to do with their lives from that day onward, as we tried - the waves washing in, endless arcs over amber sands never the same - maybe those two also took a photo...

Or is the smaller person turning away from the other? In fact, are they even together there, in that fading snapshot of 40 years ago?

Distances can be deceiving...

3 comments:

Winston said...

"They are tiny blurs, as we were to them, as then is to now..."

Wonderful analogy, simile, imagery...

How like life is an old photograph, only as meaningful as our ability to remember and recognize and relate...

This vignette is one of your finest, Robert...

Tamar said...

Yes indeed. A beautiful, beautiful piece.

Thank you.

Tabor said...

Very lovely and kind of makes me very sad. Oh well...