Thursday, March 28, 2019

The vanishing view from above

Hoping for life's return
Laval, QC
March 2019
This photo originally shared on Instagram
I often stand in the window of my father-in-law's 12th floor condo and stare out at the neighborhood where I grew up.

I do so not because I'll see anything new, but because I feel time drawing to a close, to a point where we'll no longer have this place, this vantage point in the sky that was once so integral to our family.

We've resigned ourselves to the fact that he's not going to recover, not going to resume his once-independent life, not going to return home. He very astutely told us when we saw him just a few days ago that his room in a long-term-care hospital is now his home. Even within the fog that now envelops him, he can see clearly.

So I pick up my camera and point it largely westward through the dirty windows in the hope that I can capture the scene well enough so that when we can no longer come here, the memories will persist.

Photography has become something of a crutch to me, a means of remembering when you can't be there anymore. When the people and the associated things that matter most to you vanish into history, that two-dimensional collection of pixels becomes the last tangible connection, a trigger, if you will, of memories that hopefully make the transition easier to bear.

Or so it seems. I don't know if any of this accomplishes anything, but I do know it feels right to be here, quietly, in the stillness of an early morning before the outside world once again shoves its way back in.

The monochrome, bare trees in the undeveloped fields far in the distance seem to echo my mood. Grey, empty, lifeless, cold. It isn't a pretty picture, but pictures need not always be pretty to matter to us, and I'll keep shooting from this spot for as long as I am able.

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