Friday, February 29, 2008
Look to the sky
London, Ontario, January 2008 [Click to embiggen]
The scene: Westmount Mall on a frigid Saturday afternoon. I'm here with our two youngest munchkins to run some errands until it's time to fetch my wife from the hairdresser. It's about as forgettable a scene as an average family will have on an average day in suburbia. Well, forgettable in the conventional sense.
That's because I have my camera. And I've got some alone time with two of our kids. They won't be this small forever, so we head over to the Laura Secord for some ice cream (shh, don't tell my wife) and then plop ourselves down on a bench in the central square to munch, rest and observe.
I take pictures of them and of our surroundings, trying to tell this little story of this little moment on this cloudy afternoon. Because I never seem to take a normal photo, I eventually find myself leaning way back, shooting straight up at the massive skylight that bathes the nearly deserted mall with light. They laugh at me because I always end up taking nutty pictures with my camera. It's the laugh of children who take the same kinds of pictures whenever they pick up their own cameras.
It's a beautiful place to be, but they both ask why it's empty, why the fronts of so many stores are covered with paper. I briefly think about explaining how malls killed local stores, and now big box stores are now killing the malls. I want them to learn about the relentlessly restless consumer economy, the sense of place that marked my own childhood that now seems all but lost.
But that's a lesson for another day. For now, I get to watch our son eat ice cream with his older sister while we spend some rare quiet time together. Sometimes, just letting them enjoy the moment is enough.
Your turn: A quiet, seemingly ordinary moment that stands out in your life. Please discuss.