pretty as a picture



This is a picture that my son Isaac took.

I don’t think that he knows how good these pictures he takes are.

Maybe that’s what makes them so good….he sees without thinking about “what a great picture that would make”.

Pretty as a picture…..

That’s a funny phrase….”pretty as a picture”.

I think of a family….at the edge of something really grand…..only seeing it through the limits of their cameras….collecting….collecting….collecting…..collecting proof that they “came close” to actually experiencing anything.

Collecting proof.

Maybe the kids are in the back of the car still….tethered to their 4G wonder tablets….watching funny cat videos on YouTube or checking their Facebook status.

Maybe they’re only moving through something….constantly entertained and always bored.

“Pretty as a picture”….the ultimate approval….like “I remember what that looks like!! I saw it on my TeeVee!!”

That used to drive me crazy…..CRAZEEEEEEEEE!!! (that’s hyperbole. I don’t go crazy about much….)…..I used to say, “No….it’s pretty…like ITSELF. Not like a picture. Not like a picture. The picture is the copy….it’s the weak attempt to remember….it’s the Post-It note in our brains. This is the REAL DEAL here….put down your camera.”

Like I said a minute ago, though….”came close” to seeing….maybe that’s the best we can do now?

Maybe there’s so much….such a big world to stumble through….clicking a mouse until we come close to seeing everything we know to look for?

How can the slow-moving world compete with that?

Maybe all that acceleration is going to do for us is remind us that we aren’t moving fast enough yet?

( A disclaimer: I do drink the heck out of some coffee in the morning….so I shouldn’t comment on the “slow-moving world”. What do I know about slow when I drink that much coffee?)

There’s a great scene in that Walter Mitty movie that I like so much where Ben Stiller’s and Sean Penn’s characters are sitting at the top of a snow-covered mountain…watching a Snow Leopard…..the mysterious and elusive snow leopard….and the photographer, played by Sean Penn, doesn’t take the picture.

He says something about just experiencing it….staying in the moment….not taking the picture because maybe it separates him from the moment….that the seeing is for him.

Walter Mitty: When are you going to take it?

Sean O’Connell: Sometimes I don’t. If I like a moment, for me, personally, I don’t like to have the distraction of the camera. I just want to stay in it.

Walter Mitty: Stay in it?

Sean O’Connell: Yeah. Right there. Right here.

Pictures are great.

Pictures are another “thing”.

They’re another thing….good …but not the real thing

But to be somewhere that takes your breath away….and compare the thing you see to someone else’s idea of what is a beautiful “captured moment”…..another “firefly in a jar”….well….maybe there’s something a little bit less there that we don’t consider.

This is not some television show that we’re slogging through.

Pretty as…..the real thing.

Maybe we need a picture to tell us what’s beautiful?

Nah…..we know.

We already know.


About Peter Rorvig

I'm a non-practicing artist, a mailman, a husband, a father...not listed in order of importance. I believe that things can always get better....and that things are usually better than we think.

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