“You Can’t Take a Picture of This, It’s Already Gone.” -Photos From a Small Journey

One of my best trips in recent times was a visit to Chicago in 2012. I wanted to remember it, so I picked up my camera with as much reverance as if it were an object of highly spiritual power. And for me, it was; the camera never fails to impress me with its ability to offer us visual artifacts of our personal histories and of the amazing amounts and diversity of moments, places, people, and beauty in existence.

The line from a show I watched once woke itself up in my thoughts as I switched the camera’s power on: You can’t take a picture of this, it’s already gone.

Among my favorite quotes. If anyone reading this was ever into the HBO Six Feet Under series, this is a line stated by the dead brother of a character, speaking it into her ear as she photographs her family before getting into her car and moving across the country. It stopped me in my thought-tracks, at first in the uncomfortable way of feeling a slight psychic chill over our ever-present mortality, but then with an aura of contentment, peace. It struck me as a simple yet strong wording to sum up every concept of every religious and spiritual practice I have studied over the years: everything we are a part of in our reality is temporary, and we move on to further enlightenment when we release the bonds we use to tie ourselves, with the strongest knots possible, to this world.

Love this world and all in it. Be happy for this existence and all in it. Enjoy your life and learn from it. Ultimately though, accept that no matter how much you try and capture all of your moments, all that you love, and keep it with you forever–in thoughts, in words, in photographs–what you capture is not the actual moment. It is not reality. Memories are derived of real moments, but they are no longer reality.

So I accepted that no matter what I captured with the camera lens to keep with me, what I will keep are the abandoned shells of real moments. With this in mind, I collected what was most relevant to me in that time. It might be gone, but it won’t be forgotten, and it won’t go without first having been loved, enjoyed, and having given me some type of wisdom that will carry on with me.

Releasing your hold on this world leads you to enlightenment, and so does loving your time in this world and letting yourself grow while in it.

observation car
Getting there.

Looking at the city. Without blinking.

If you could pause a simple moment.

Dreamlike speed of a world.

Walkways through the world.

in the cloud
I never just see, hear, and feel love, but taste it on the tongue like a metallic energy. It is the first layer of creation from which all else, including skin and blood and bone and breath, including soil and sea and air, are structured from. Main ingredient. Taste of everything that exists. We stood in front of ourselves, and before we walked away it looked like we stood in some type of dream, and I loved you even more. (musings at a “silver egg”) —In the Cloud at Cloud Gate.

Rain on the way back. It covers the windows and, in a beautiful way, distorts the scenery.

You sometimes travel a reconfigured world.

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