Focus is adjusting the aperture of the life lens to reveal the ever-changing depth of field. Sometimes, life requires a wide open lens—the big picture—often, the aperture is small, open only to the current moment. Big or small, clarity creates perspective.
The turning of the life lens is like a kaleidoscope, quick glimpses of what might be, any and all a possibility. Not all choices will be clear, even momentarily, but those chosen find a forever as memories, a clarity all its own.
These days, my life lens hardly knows where to focus for my aperture is wide open, the depth of field possibilities ever-expanding. I know that infinite possibilities exist in each moment but every once in a while life is so large, it’s hard to decide where to focus first.
Almost daily now, I walk Waverly pond and park for a little focus practice. Waverly residents are used to me and my aged, Kodak camera. Many of my photographic attempts resemble a quick turn through a kaleidoscope. Later, no amount of digital manipulation provides focus but in memory, focus has soft edges.
Of late, the resident pair of red-shouldered hawks have been quite fond of perching atop the “no fishing, no swimming” signs that are positioned on opposite sides of the pond.
I have yet to get a focused photo of their perching but I included one in last week’s post, anyway. From these two vantage sign points, the hawks’ presence on the pond and the surrounding park is a constant and clear reminder to all.
I have learned how close I can get to the hawks, which is usually just out of the depth of field for my Kodak lens. Auto-focus is insufficient so I keep trying different settings.
The hawks balance patiently, providing me one opportunity after another but only my life lens captures the essence of these moments forever.
Eventually, I get a clear, sharp picture of the sign sans hawk. This is focus practice after all. Inadvertently, I capture a snowy egret in the background; its image more ghost-like than feather and flesh.
I continue my walk around the pond toward the egret, stopping to lean against a recently pruned ash tree. I focus the Kodak lens through tree branches and find the egret looking at me so I look back. We stay this way for a bit before the egret returns to fishing, and I, to my walk.
Recently, the neighborhood association added a wooden swing. It is so comfortable that it is rarely unoccupied. From here, the view is as wide open as my life lens aperture can get–timeless focus.
The wooden swing is my last stop. Often, the hawks join me, either alight the light post or perching on the connecting power wire. On overcast, drizzling days, grub from the ground is a favorite.
Sitting on the swing makes focusing the Kodak even more of a challenge. For me, it is a swing in perpetual motion for my feet cannot touch the ground so I sit forward for focus.
The Kodak results resemble turns of a kaleidoscope, with an occasional exception, but my life lens continuously captures Waverly for a lifetime of remembering.
6 thoughts on “Looking Through the Life Lens”
I like your observation that things grow more focused in memory. I’d say we also perfect them, smoothing edges, adding a flattering light. That’s okay. We are the sum of our past experiences and it is good if we can remember that past fondly.
I suspect we do perfect them, which would smooth the edges, as you say. For me, that perfection includes accepting them as they occurred. The acceptance is flattering for it no longer nudges as anything more than it ever was. Thanks, Adrian.
Pardon my redundancy, but I relate! Determining where to focus has been both a joy and challenge for me lately.
I loved the photo-walk around Waverly. Isn’t it remarkable how soothing nature and movement can be?
Lately, these parallel lives of ours have been simply astonishing at times, haven’t they? What a great way to put it, August. Let’s adopt your phrase–pardon my redundancy–it says it all. So glad you enjoyed the walk around Waverly, and yes, nature–nothing like it. Thanks so much, August.
wow, the egret in the background. like a metaphor for something deep. just out of reach. just beyond focus. when very quiet, the brain senses something greater out there, just out of reach. just beyond focus. maybe someday we will see it clearly.
I had not thought of it that way, Craig. Thank you! It is just as you say, just out reach and beyond focus. Most thoughtful and most appreciated.