05 July 2008

Don't Leave Home Without It

I have not fully adapted to the freedom that digital cameras offer. I've had a digital camera for a year now, but I still forget to use it or to bring it with me.

Having come of age when we actually put film--rather than brilliant little digital disks--in our cameras, I still feel that the act of pressing the shutter button is a moment of commitment. That's because I'm used to being parsimonious with my snapshots to save on film and developing costs. My mindset has not adapted to the digital age, where we can take pictures without remorse as long as we have room on our memory card.

But today I learned my lesson. My camera needs to travel with me always, whether I am going on an adventure or to the grocery store.

This afternoon, Kevin and I decided to travel to Lewisburg (a small college-town in Central Pennsylvania). We had no great plans: stop at the Bernina dealer, walk down Lewisburg's main street, and enjoy the drive.

We took Route 192 home and this is where we had our little adventure. First, we encountered R.B. Winter State Park. We had never been there before, despite having traveled 192 previously. But the view of the lake and dam caught our attention and we pulled over. We crossed a rock bridge into the park and found ourselves in a beautiful pine forest with exposed sandstone formations. The little section of park we explored was full of natural wonders and rife with potential quilt ideas.

If I had only brought my camera, I could show you what I saw.

Magisterial pine trees reaching skyward. Sandstone fragments covered with sea-green moss. Giant rhododendrons beginning to shed their blossoms. Soft beds of pine needles cradling fallen branches. A maze of delicate spiderwebs barely captured in the gentle forest light. Small slivers of silver minnows dashing to and fro in the shallows.

But alas, my camera was at home, so my words can only be a poor substitute.

We returned to the car and continued on our way.

As we passed a small farm, I caught a glimpse of a tiny calf being licked by momma. I told Kevin to turn around because it seemed like something was worth seeing again. And was it ever.

If I had my camera with me, I could share with you some precious pictures.

We sat in amazement as we watched mother and baby instinctively bond together. The little black-and-white calf was no more than a couple hours old. It was so new that some afterbirth still hung from the mother. Momma kept licking it rapturously. The little calf struggled to kneel on wobbly limbs, then tried to stand, only to fall back down as the new muscles struggled to work together. I've never been privileged to see an animal that was so new.

But again, my camera sat at home. So I can only share with you my words.

I've learned my lesson. Along with my purse, car keys, and cell phone, my digital camera (with charged batteries) is now an essential item for leaving the house.

I don't want to miss out on inspirational images for new art quilts. But more importantly, I never want to miss the chance to capture rare portraits of a new life coming into being.

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