I’m not a photographer.
Never have been, never will be.
I’m not patient enough, like my sister, to roam wet and cold fields at 4 am just to take a picture of a little creepy crawly thing.
Plus, I’m lazy. When I’m on vacation there’s always somebody there willing to take hundreds of pictures to share back home.
A few years ago I was in India. For the first time in my life I felt the urge to take all my impressions home. Especially all its contradictions.
The beautiful, veiled women, their dark eyes conceiled. Submissive, but at the same time brimmingly provocative and sexy whenever you could catch a glimpse.
Men strutting around, all cocky and macho. Little kids, their wide smiles open and curious-shyly touching my arms and legs to see if my skin felt the same as theirs.
The colors, the spicy scents, the noise, the chaos, the traffic, even the pungent smell of rotting garbage everywhere. I wanted to capture it all.
My pictures didn’t even come close to show what it was like for real….
Try again in the back country.
Where it’s quiet.
No such luck.
Still, there is one picture I will always carry with me for as long as I live.
I don’t ever have to look at it again to know every detail.
I never felt the need to take pictures of the extreme poverty in India.
But there was something very moving about an old goat desperately trying to find one more little bite to eat before it would collapse. Just before I wanted to take the picture a little 7 year old boy showed up.
He couldn’t believe his luck. This rich lady wanted to take a picture of HIS goat.
Proudly he put his skinny arm around the goats’ neck and beamed his gap-toothed smile at the camera. He had never before felt this honored in his life.
Neither have I.
It’s unlikely we will ever meet again.
Still he taught me a valuable lesson.
Some memories cannot be held in my hand.
They will be forever locked in my heart.