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Montreal, QC, July 2009
About this photo: Thematic Photographic explores "perspective" this week. I thought this capture had perspective in spades. Head over here if you've got some perspective of your own.I had taken my father to a couple of cemeteries in Montreal on this grey day, ostensibly to visit the graves of my grandparents and other family members. However, what had started as a simple exercise in locating and cataloging the resting places of people so instrumental in my young life slowly evolved into something quite different.
That's because I initially thought I would see the day through my lens. Instead, I ended up seeing it through the lens of my father. This shift dawned on me as we approached my paternal grandfather's grave. As I watched my father pay his respects, it seemed immaterial for me to take a picture of my grandfather's gravestone when what really mattered was that his son had come for a visit. So from that point forward, I deliberately hung back and watched him step through this very reverential process.
In the end, it was a perspective that opened my eyes on a number of levels - and in some respects, in ways I do not wish to face just yet. I suspect I'll be writing about this experience again sometime soon.
Your turn: As parents age. Please discuss. And if you'd like to suggest a caption for this photo, we're taking those, too. Click on the comment link and go for it: Winner will be announced next week. Please click here for more background on how Caption This works.
About last week's photo of a ship looming over the neighborhood: This was a hard shot to get, as it was late-ish evening and the light was fading fast. Still, I don't get here often, so it was either an iffy shot, or nothing. I'm glad I took the chance. Honorable menschens this week go to the following good folks:
- Terri: "Michael Rowed the Boat Ashore"
- Anne: "Promenade deck."
- Pamela: "Big Berth-a."
Related entries from this shoot:
My parents are both gone, and are probably in one of those two graveyards you visited. I can understand your unwillingness to face some of these eye-openers. It's inevitable but almost unthinkable. Your shot expresses it well.
We are, of course, linked to the past; sometimes visibly in the guise of our parants. and sometimes invisibly, through whatever artifice blinks us into the trees of our inheritance. How wonderful that you've seen the past, and future in one moment.
This is, if not an epiphany, than at least a scene shift. Neatly nice, and very likely important.
There is always an undertone of reverence and tradition when you write about family. These things that you hold sacred and holy. I think that this also influences you in the way you "hung back" and observed rather than participated in a reverent sacred way. You did not interfere yet you captured the essence of something sacred.
Walking through a cemetery for me in also for me sacred and holy. So many people, so many spirits, so many stories.
That's what makes you special, the fact that you honor tradition and family.
(edited something - basically changed one caption, but the comment removed is unchanged - sorry!)
The only captions that come to mind is:
Monuments to Lives...
As for the cemetery - years ago, we went on a cemetery "tour" with my grandfather. I took a tape recorder and we originally meant to narrate the locations of our departed ones. It turned into an afternoon of anecdotes. No one quite told a story like my Zaida Max, and he was as animated as he was somber. He did some imitations which are not caught on tape, as they were visual, but the whole thing was so impromptu, who'd have thought to bring a videocamera?
It was enlightening and an intimate afternoon I'll never forget.
I like cemeteries...they are quiet and give me pause for thought, at least when I'm only there to visit.
Thank you, Carmi, for sharing this very private moment.
"The conveyer belt"
I have no caption...the picture just kind of leaves me with a lump in my throat. I do know this--the older my parents get, the older "old" seems. I don't want 82 to be really old; I just have this sense that time is running out, and it's just not fair.
My grandmother raised me. She died when I was 18. I am now 50 and this year I returned to her grave for the first time. Nothing inside me had changed. I have a caption for your picture:
I Still Grieve
When parents age?
Hummmm been thinking a lot about my own parents recently and my own role as a parent
Unlike may others, i am actually looking forward to being incredibly old....yup i've seen up close and ugly some of the places people go to and how they live and also how we die at the ending of our lives
But...but i still wanna do it all.
Watching older people prepare for this stage, has been an eye opener.
Listening as older people explain the tension of their own life....and how their adult children can help or hinder this process... has been enlightening for me.
Learning from observing the good ways of aging as a parent...and wincing as the bad ways happen...has taught me a whole heap of stuff.
When my time comes, I hope I do it well
I think your perspective on this is excellent. And the photo just says it all. The only caption that I can think of is "Thank You...." Congratulations to Klaatu. Was great for last weeks :)
Lost in memory
I remember when...
"Through my father's eyes"
Isn't that a song?
As our parents age it's even more important to take the time to talk, ask questions and more importantly listen. It's through them we can ultimately pass on the family history from the past to the present.
"A Monument to Moments in Time"
Pushing up clover.
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