Sunday, February 07, 2021

Returning to the icy scene of the crime

Mother Nature shows off, again
London, ON
February 2021
This photo originally shared on Instagram

Last week I stood on my porch and took a picture of a melting icicle.

A couple of days later, a well-meaning landscaper knocked it down because of gravity and liability and stuff. I appreciated the gesture, but missed having a tiny example of nature's artistry on display just outside the door.

Leave it to Mother Nature, though, to fill the void. She threw tons of snow at us, frosted our nights with dangerous cold, then mixed in some sun-powered melt-off during the day. Presto: more icicles.

It seems trivial to repeatedly balance myself on a tiny step while trying to avoid a) destroying my camera and b) destroying myself, all to snag yet another picture of a common icicle. More broadly, it seems trivial that I'd regularly shoot the exciting lives of weeds, jams, waves, supermarket fruit displays, graffiti-covered alleyways, light bulbs, clouds, and any other mundane object that catches my eye.

But on reflection, I've come to realize each photo is simply a consequence of a process that matters far more - to me, anyway - than the outcome. Because a photo is more than just a collection of pixels. It's the spark that took root in my convoluted brain, the conversation I had with my wife or my kids or whoever I happened to be with at that moment. Or if I was alone, with myself. It's the moment that surrounded the composition, what we were doing at the time, where we may have been headed, where we may have just left, or how we felt.

I call it the meta, the context within which it was shot, and with every photo, I hope someday when I look back at it that I can remember the meta, the story, too.

So this may look a lot like the one I shot last week. But it has a very different story. One I told mere days before it finally dawned on me that I've been defining "trivial" incorrectly all along.

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Icicles writ large, December 2017
Icy spine, February 2007

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