Once Upon A Time

561. Join me in inspiring truly powerful people. Each day I will add a new thought, story or idea to support your quest and mine.

For the past several days I have watched Lora pull out old photo albums, unpack boxes and old suitcases searching for photographs of her mother, Margaret. She is assembling a slide show for Margaret’s memorial celebration. Her intention was simple: to gather photographs documenting Margaret’s life but as she looked for images she found something far richer.

Photographs tell a story. There are photos of the infant Margaret, the little girl with grandparents, a rowdy teenager on a motorcycle, giving a friend a boost up a tree. There is the moment, as a young woman that she held a string of fish and laughed at her father’s antics, and the shot taken in a club of a gorgeous sophisticated lady surrounded by soldiers on leave from the war. Then, there was a photo arm and arm with the one soldier, a pilot, wedding photo’s, a happy couple in a home of their own, a new mom and her baby. The frozen moments continued through surprise parties, Christmas days, a second marriage, becoming a grandmother, cruises with her daughter, widowhood and the years of Alzheimer’s, becoming a fragile little bird.

Lora’s search for photos became a family history treasure hunt. Puzzle pieces fell into place. Love letters gave a two dimensional memory its third dimension. Curious stories resolved and the veil lifted from mysterious characters. Not only has Lora documented her mother’s life, she has enriched her own life, she located herself in a narrative with more color and passion and dreaming than she realized. In weaving Margaret into the fabric of ancestry she has woven herself into a greater connection to the story line. She belongs.

Today as I walked I was aware of the many, many photographs I saw people take. I live near a beach so the opportunities are plentiful. We live in an age where the photograph is easy to take, easy to erase, easy to store, easy to forget, easy to lose as the technology evolves. As I watched people pose for their moment I couldn’t help but imagine each photograph, someday, marking the arc of the long body, how this photo might tell the story of this particular life once this particular life story has been told – and who might find a deeper experience of belonging when they dig through old files and discover this special moment once upon a time when their loved one posed for a camera on a beautiful day at the beach.

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