Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Sky pictures

originally uploaded by L. A. Price.

She was 82 years old, and had a dozen chronic illnesses. She used a walker, but could only walk a few yards unassisted. Her grandchildren were grown. What did she do?

Last week, we found out: she stood at her doorstep, clutching her walker with one hand and her camera with the other, and took pictures of the sky. Polaroids. Hundreds of them.

Red skies. Lavender skies. Every shade of blue, orange, and gray skies. Every kind of cloud pattern. Threatening storms. Skies reflected in her front windows. Spectacular sunrises and sunsets.

No photos of grandchildren or other relatives; no other subjects. What was she thinking? It was too late to ask. What should we do with these? Make a collage, of course. A tribute.

We bought poster board and a frame. We arranged the photos carefully. A pale one here, next to a vivid one; purple, then yellow - wait, no, purple, then orange...

Beside us were old photos that we had brought with us, snapshots of her past: a solemn girl in faded sepia, wearing a long pinafore and buttoned shoes. A picnic photo, a wedding photo, an anniversary photo.

"You know," said Mike, "with those old photos, we remember her. But in these photos..." He gestured toward the sky pictures. "In these photos, we discover her.

"But don't tell anyone that!" he said.

Too late.

originally uploaded by L. A. Price.

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